I have no bones to break with middle aged youngish fellows, firm believers of "forties is the new thirties", cigar-smoking generation. You can and must celebrate birthdays at forties, fifties, sixties and beyond..if you want to. Celebration is something which marks happiness. That is some thing which has to come from inside. For this very reason, Independence day to school kids is not about hard discipline of uniformed lines rather it is the symphony of colors and paper flags and badges and happiness. It is happiness which has to come from inside, even if it comes with the slightly sad acknowledgement of some one whom you loved and adored as sign of youth, growing old in the face of dusty storms of times.
It was being celebrated much cheap with two bottles of Aristocrat at around two hundred rupees and some salad from the hostel mess, years back, but it was not a ritual then, it was a time to reinforce friendships, and real happiness.
What it means in the world today, when how it is to be celebrated has nothing to do with how I would want it to be celebrated. When it is planned, organized by the people who plan and organize it and the Birthday boy has to just ensure a necessary presence to ensure that the whole thing goes through. This is so terrible juvenile and embarassing. Can one have a day in which your choices, wishes and desires stand unchallenged and unquestioned..Can I have one day when those around me can help me reinforce my belief in the infallibility of the person that others believe I once was, and I believe, I still am, somewhere inside? If not, than this whole thing is just a sham. This is not being celebrated because, I say that I want it to be celebrated, or becuase you feel I want it to be celebrated, but simply because you feel, you ought to celebrate it. I hate birthday, and I long for a birthday which I will once again rejoice in. Jerry Sienfield captures it in it true vengeful brutality when he says, " Birthdays are merely symbolic of how another year has gone by and how little we have grown. No matter that how desperate we are that some day a better self will emerge, with each flicker of the candle on the cake, we know it's not to be." If my presence is as intolerable, as unbearable exactly one day before as it is one day after the birthday, I would rather do well without the ridiculous discontinuity of hatred of a day that we call a birthday, which I repeat is a naive and juvenile idea.