…Hmmm..you guessed right.. birthday yesterday.
What is it about this day that gets you into ‘reflection mode’?
Amidst the roses and cakes ( black forest with its creamy spongy, layers) prayers offered and blessings received, the day was spent in lighthearted frolicsome banter. Perhaps to re-invent the charisma of childhood years when regular, fervent, announcements were made almost a month preceding the 4th of April, so as to circumvent, eschew any room for forgetfulness/misunderstanding.. ‘My birthday’s coming..just 29 days to go..filled the air, in an effort to counter the trepidation of “What if Papa Mama forgot? ..No presents!!!” Ah-Ah too risky..a little forthrightness in speech and ostentation at such crucial junctures ne’er hurt no one!
Not so discreet references to longed for gifts were generally thrown at the dinner table… ignored, discreetly by my older brothers who were past masters in putting up an act of complete deafness at such times, hiding their smirks at the thrill of infuriating me and frustrating my not so clever moves..Father dear Father was the only one who responded..Since the list was often long , he’d offer to help me with writing it neatly.. finally..! In some households, things had to be spelled out, especially if it meant a year long calculation and planning that preceded the making of the list, among others, that simply delightful pair of ‘ballerina shoes’, or the crimson (horror!) slacks, and the white lace top to go with it, or the shiny new compass box and so on to reach a ‘respectable’ figure of at least a dozen or so to-die-for items.
And then of course the excited, harried, plans for the party.. the oh-so-pretty frock, layers and layers of chiffon, and netted lace, crafted by the much acclaimed Parsi seamstress with matching ‘can can’, list of delicacies to be served discussed with ‘best friends’, and last but not the least choice of cake..what will it be this time.. the Marzipan ‘doll house’ or a ‘cartoon character’. ..sigh..there was just so much to do.
How times change…..4th of April is not as eagerly awaited. Too many arrangements to make..No more surprises left..another candle blown, just a tepid reminder of a year gone by.. life now spiraling towards the inevitable end. This is not meant to be as morbid, depressed, gloomy an observation as it reads. ..or at-least not entirely.
The truism ‘the more you celebrate life, the more there is to celebrate‘ oft repeated, mentally and attempted to follow, becomes the mainstay of ‘in-between thoughts’ that fill the day. . Coupled with a promise to take ones childhood along..It helps to sift out the non-essentials that keep one bogged down and facilitate embracing that which is as permanent as can possibly be, considering the intransient, impermanent nature of our existence.
So ..is it foolish to celebrate yet another birthday? What are we celebrating anyways? The years gone by, those to come, or the next step down that path to final oblivion?
Is it wise to calculate the years by man made arithmetic of 365 days? After all we are’nt trees and don’t really develop rings for each year!
What we are is a mass of neurons and genes with such a degree of intelligible, indelible memory, that will not only determine our next moment but eventually shape our next birth. How does a ‘year’ figure prominently there by any measure?
What predominantly strikes one is the frightful ‘indelible memory’ detail.So beware of what you store in that chip pal…in the final analysis, thats what will eventually matter. After all as a wisecrack goes ‘ its not the years in your life but the life in your years that count’
Preciously preserve the moments of joy, blow away those of sadness with the candle, and light another with hope of being what you were meant to be. I am trying.. not quite there.. but ..efforts are on…Work in progress!
‘Life is only a chance to grow a soul ‘..certainly not Hinduism but a ‘spirited’ quote nonetheless.
Humph.. What is it about Birthdays that gets one truly philosophical!