Last Sunday, I turned 27.
As I settled in for the night, I heard a solitary beep as my phone screen lit up. I glanced at the watch.
It was a message from my best friend, wishing me a happy birthday. She went on to promise to celebrate when we met up in a couple of days, and ended it with a random assortment of celebratory emojis.
We talked for an hour and having known me since college, she did not ask me about my plans for the next day. While I am certainly not one of those people, who dread getting older and blatantly defy nature by being the same age for a couple of years, I am not entirely fond of the impending onslaught of human interaction.
I went to sleep, ill at ease.
My birthdays always coincided with the summer holidays when I was in school. Being an only child, most of them were spent with friends, while my parents fulfilled my birthday gift list. But once every couple of years, we would go to visit my grandparents for my birthday. One summer, my aunt and uncle joined us with their two sons. As is often the case with cousins, none of us could stand the other. Now I can’t tell you what transpired on that hot day, but I can tell you it involved pink bubblegum, three birthday cakes and one black eye. While birthday get-togethers never happened again, I began to see a precedent for the future.
For the next few years, the misfortune continued with exam results being declared on the exact day, a few random illnesses and solitary celebrations. As the introvert in me began to take pleasure in the lack of interaction, I enrolled in college. Treating my birthdays like just another day, started getting me embroiled in extensive interrogations by people. I found that suggestions involving shoving things up certain places, for some odd reason, weren’t met with enthusiasm.
When I woke up, I replied to all the messages I had received. Ignoring all my instincts, I sent polite replies to all inquiries pertaining my itinerary. I spent the day doing what I usually do on weekends, which may or may not involve settling semi-permanently in one spot in front of the television.
The next day, when I went in to work, one of my colleagues punched my shoulder and asked me about my birthday. The colleague in question is someone I have fondly nicknamed after a portion of a certain brown thing. I turned to glare at him with a few choice words on my tongue, when I was very rudely interrupted by my PR agent, my brain. Reciting from a memorised, pre-determined script, I answered,
“It was fun.”