Ask me about my birthday plans for this year, or about those bygone birthdays, and I would give you a shock of a lifetime. Do you know why? I don’t celebrate birthdays! If I say I haven’t celebrated my birthday yet, not even once in all these adventurous thirty three years, I am sure you all will have just one reply to say, and that’s I am a liar, a shameless, bloody liar who’s badly craving for your sympathy by portraying myself as a woman who was deprived of the entire happiness that she should have received in all these years. But believe me or not, I haven’t celebrated my birthday even once in all these years. Though birthday celebrations where never forbidden at my home, December 22nd, the day I came in to this world, often went-by just like the other days of the year. It was not because no one was really interested in celebrating my ‘beginning’, but birthday celebrations just didn’t happen, instead I was made to understand that one should never splurge money on trivial things, instead on something useful and genuine. Right from childhood, I was ‘well trained’ to not ask for grand birthday parties and expensive gifts. Being not used to any kind of birthday treats, I never had anything to crib about and never did it ever, at any point of my life. There were no cake cuttings, no new dresses, and no elaborate parties and no gifts from anyone. In short, every birthday of mine went by just like other usual days and I didn’t have any complaints about not having memorable birthdays and attractive birthday presents. As everyone around was so tied-up in their own worlds, busy with their own works, I forced myself focus on mine too and moved on, instead of ranting about why I was not wished or why I didn’t have colorful dresses or memorable birthday parties like most of my classmates.
I am really not in to spending money on birthday parties or dresses. I’ve never asked my parents why I didn’t have them, nor did they try explaining why they arrange anything for me all these years. Not having flamboyant dresses and exciting birthday parties are not things that I have regretted at any point of my life. May be because I’ve never known how it would be like if I had them each year, but I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much as I enjoy my birthdays now. Do you want to know why? As I grew up and started becoming self depended, birthdays were those days of the year when I made sure to do at least one charity work, mostly in the form of donations to cancer centres and orphanages, or even to the temple nearby our home, so that they can feed some of the poor people, mostly children, old men and women, who are often found begging in front of the temple. Those little acts of kindness give lots of happiness and satisfaction, much more than how I would have felt amid grand parties and a flood of birthday presents. Rather than feeding the well-off with a scrumptious birthday lunch, I prefer feeding the poor and needy every year, not because I want people to go gaga over my broadmindedness and kindness, but because it gives me a lot of happiness to see their innocent and contented smiles. More than the glitz of a pair of gold earnings, an expensive dress or an advanced mobile phone, the best gift that I prefer on my birthday is the smile that I can bring on the face of a needy, by lending a helping hand. For this reason, I am happy that my dad and mom never tried spending money on my birthdays or never threw lavish parties for me, made me feel that birthdays are those must-celebrated days of the year. It has helped me get contented with normal birthdays, so that I can generously donate something every year and help at least one of those needy people out there, perhaps the best possible way in which I can celebrate my birthday.