“My Visa interview is on 17 September” said a colleague.
“Oh, that’s a historic date. Yuvraj Singh hit six sixes in 2007 on that day” is what came out of my mouth.
Slowly but surely it has become a fixation with me – associating every date with a cricketing event and making that as a primary key to remember other events related to that date.
My first son was born on the day news of Ganguly’s possible retirement came out in 2008. My second son was born exactly two days after India won its second world cup – please take a note that I have deliberately mentioned “second world cup” so that you don’t think of me as a fossil. Date of my marriage anniversary is same as the date 2011 world cup started. I never miss birthday of one of very close friends because he shares it with Poonam Pandey, the most instrumental female figure in India’s world cup victory.
It always pained me that I could not relate 9 September to any significant event – be it cricket or otherwise. Maybe Akshay Kumar would object but he cannot make me agree for to consider his birthday as a significant event even if he follows me from Chandni Chowk to China.
So when I happened to read a cricinfo link about date of Sachin’s first ODI ton, 9 September 1994, I was filled with mixed emotions. I felt a bit ashamed thinking, “How the hell I didn’t know it till now”. Then I also felt a bit relieved that I did not die without knowing it. Although I am not a strictly religious man but I always knew there was some connection between God and me. Finally, I came to know about it yesterday.
I would like to thank Ganpati Bappa for it. Oh yes, this year his birthday has coincided with mine.
Honestly speaking, I have never understood the rationale behind people being so buoyant about their own birthdays and celebrating them. As far as I understand, you celebrate achievements. By no means, it could be called your achievement. It was all a result of your parent’s love and hard work.
What did you do in it? People often crib about not being allowed to make their own choices in life but it is natural. It starts right at the birth. Did anyone ask if you really want to come to this world? No. You were just made to pop out.
Anyways, since celebrating birthdays is a trend and I am a human, I have also followed this trend.
I think the reason I did not beat my chest like a gorilla on rampage about Sachin scoring his first ODI ton on my birthday was that until quite late, I did not celebrate my birthday on 9 September. At my place, we followed lunar calendar for celebrating birthdays and even the celebrations were quite traditional. Cake cutting was considered to be giving into western culture hence it was totally forbidden. I did not cut a cake on my birthday until my 27th birthday. Before you start getting ideas, let me tell you that my 27th birthday has just gone by – just a few years ago. I am not a fossil.
I have a few problems with birthdays. They remind me of my age and make me wonder, in normal case of events, if I have celebrated more birthdays in past than I will celebrate in future. With every passing year, I get to meet more and more people who are younger than I am, much younger than I am. If you find someone belonging to former being ahead of you in life, it does frustrate, meeting the latter lot itself is a stark reminder of aging.
Another problem is with responding to birthday-wishes calls. No, I do wait for people to call, wish me and I really appreciate it. I love hearing the first sentence “many many happy returns of the day”. The problem lies in responding to second sentence, “So, how are you celebrating”.
How do I celebrate?
I am not a son of any famous politician otherwise; I would have started a scheme in my father’s name to distribute ipads amongst the poor tribal in Dantewada. I am not a film star else, I would have thrown a birthday bash and would be checking the pictures of the same in next day’s page three.
I am just a common-man stumped at the question “How are you celebrating today?” 
For me, it is like any other day. I do not do anything differently. I never do. Commoners just dream of making a difference, they hardly ever make it. Those who do, they cease to qualify as a commoner. Honestly speaking, to certain extent, birthday-wishing calls do scare me because of that second question.
However, being human, not the kind that prints it on T-shirts and sells it but normal humans, I do wait for my birthdays. I do like receiving wishes, cutting cakes, wearing new cloths and celebrating a little bit.
I do like to think about some of my past birthdays and disappear in their memories for a while. I do like to think about making a resolution and then decide against it. In the end, I hope for my next birthday to be better than the current one and pray to God that such day never comes in my life when I am forced to say “I hope I never see my birthday again”. 


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