When I was a kid I used to be excited about my birthday. It was a nice feeling to wear new clothes and carry a box full of chocolates to give it to my classmates.
All of us used to bring a limited number of chocolates to class. It was equal to the number of students in the class and approximately fifty chocolates for teachers and support staff. Very often some five chocolates would be left after distributing them to everybody. I used to silently give an extra chocolate to my best buddies. It felt good to receive an extra one from them on their special day as well. It was a deal :D
During evenings I used to go to my friends’ house in the neighborhood and give chocolates to them and their siblings. This was a regular thing in my area. This practice has almost become extinct these days.
There was another memorable event connected to this. One of my teachers lived in the next lane. I still remember how I refused to go her place because she had scolded me in some class. Finally I had to obey mom's orders and go to her home to give chocolates.
I don’t remember what dishes mom made during my birthdays. But there used to be either Payasam or Jamoon (for sure ) at home. Those were the sweet days of innocence. The childish attention seeking tendency withered and came to a nil as time passed.
I saw the tradition of GPL or gaand pe laath ( birthday bumps ) for the first time in college ( at NITK ). It appeared to be scary in the beginning. Soon I realised that is was fun to kick their ass. It was also heartening to see people buy cakes and celebrate everybody’s birthday at 12 in the morning. I escaped my quota of GPL as my birthday was during vacations.
At college I used to relate birthdays to the Pink Floyd song “Time”. Time was flying away like an arrow and I was floating like an aimless plastic cover on the roadside. Those lyrics had a profound impact on me. Birthdays became a measure of what I had achieved in the year that had passed. This birthday I got my ID card at my new workplace and a Parker pen . Of course it was the result of past year's travails. This sounds like a good start. Hopefully I’ll be in a better place next year.
Whenever I think about that box of chocolates, I am always reminded of Tom Hank’s dialogue in Forrest Gump
My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."