I am mildly envious of people who are into celebrating the little things in their lives, particularly birthdays. They seem so happy swirling around in a candy – coloured Tim Burtonesque fantasy land apparently feeling blessed, blissed out and filled to the brim with the love and laughter in their lives. When my birthday rolls around with clockwork like precision despite my vehement efforts to freeze time using a telekinetic chokehold, I become so cantankerous, I make the Grinch seem like little Miss Sunshine hopped up on happy pills.
All I can see in the mirror is the awkward, pimply adolescent I once was in a belligerent biddy’s body. Taking note of increasingly creaky joints, I brood over the process of aging while counting the rapidly proliferating grey strands and bemoaning my lack of success in establishing a diplomatic relationship with my weighing scale. Politely responding to all the sweet people who send birthday wishes, I make myself feel worse by dwelling on the things I was supposed to have achieved by now but haven’t.
Despite my plan to see the world and explore its wonders Ibn Battuta style, I spend most days pottering around the house with all the zip of a zombie while wishing I could sleep all day. Then when it is beddy – bye time, I stay up late adding weight to the bags beneath my eyes, trying to master the formula for instant success and land a big fat book deal or create a cutting-edge app that will allow me to buy the Chennai Super Kings and outbid Elon Musk to takeover Twitter.
While drowning my sorrows in Nutella milkshake between bites of birthday cake, I wish I had taken better care of my teeth. It is no fun to spend hours in a dentist’s chair while he wields terrifying implements no doubt lovingly envisioned and first employed by the Marquis de Sade. Sugar may rot your teeth, but it does induce a sickly-sweet high that lulls you into believing that it is not too late to turn your life around.
I resolve to invest in Bitcoin, oil and gold which seems like the sort of thing smart people would do. Going forward, I promise myself that I will nurture and cherish the bonds with all those who truly matter, especially the ones who had made it a point to call me, patiently listened to my endless whining and assured me that I was not a complete waste of space instead of devoting time and attention to accruing an army of followers on Instagram. I shall make a commitment to fitness and begin the odyssey to find a better version of myself.
Feeling revitalized, I tell myself that the year is off to a great start though the sugar – rush is giving way to inevitable despondency. As I toss and turn wrestling with unresolved sleep issues, I spend the time trying to figure out how best to trap treacherous time in a bottle before my next birthday.
This article was originally published in The New Indian Express Magazine.