Monday, June 14, 2010

June 14th

Different days mean different things to different people, maybe it's a part of us all being different. And June 14th means something to me, because in addition to it being International Blood Donor day and USA's Flag Day (no idea what that actually means), it's also my Birthday. Yes, I've managed to make it 25 despite rolling through life with the co-ordination of a drunk baby. Whoo Me.

The first thing I do on any birthday is thank my Mother. I have a rather super-sized head, and even though I didn't as a kid, it still shocks me how Mother love their kids even after the pain of child birth. Now that's L.O.V.E. Hell, my mother even makes me a dish of Lasagne on my birthday and still re-affirms her love for me. How awesome is that? No wonder none of my brothers are married, those are stratospheric standards to live up to.

My Dad has this habit of remembering the exact time when all of us were born, so he recounts that story with glee...probably in appreciation that he wasn't wearing my Mom's shoes that day. But my sweetest part of talking to my Dad is how he tells me how much he loves me and is proud of me. For a son, there is no higher compliment than his father being proud of him and that's the moment I cherish.

I never really wanted a whole lot for my birthday minus the usual childhood yearnings for GI Joes, Play Stations etc, because frankly, I didn't need a whole lot. I may want a new laptop or sleek new car, but I'd never ask for it. After all, I live a pretty good life. I even remember the day that I realized how insanely lucky I was; I had gotten some money from somewhere (Eid I think) and I had watched a documentary on some starving kids in Africa with acute goiters. Pretty sad stuff for a five year old kid to watch and I couldn't help bawling my eyes out, for me being hungry was the ten step walk to my over packed kitchen to delve into any of two stuffed fridges. So that night, I couldn't sleep so I went to my mother cried some more, gave her the money and told her that I didn't deserve it and went to bed....and finally slept like an angel (well, as much of an angel as a destructive five year old).  

To this day I find it offensive and extremely uncomfortable when I haggle with an obviously poor man over his goods at a store (by store I mean blanket on a sidewalk), even if I feel like he's cheating me. Particularly when I take into account that I spend more on a single night out than he does on rent. My issues in life are getting pissed off at my Driver/Chauffeur for arriving late to pick me up, and his involve making enough money to afford the bus ride home so he doesn't have to walk 5 miles to get home. 

I'll bitch and whine over the increase in electricity tariffs, where his issues are being able to afford an electricity connection in the first place and the sad thing is that the few extra hundred rupees a month (several US dollars) has zero impact on my lifestyle. Now maybe this makes me weak (which I've often been told by my more practical friends), and susceptible to being hoodwinked out of a few bucks, but the truth is that I am lucky enough to afford it and the only reason I am is thanks to an accident of birth, but what I can't live with the thought that that poor guy, toiling (fairly) honestly for his daily bread has to go without so I can enjoy a fancier cell phone or yet another Egyptian cotton hand stitched shirt. Frankly, it'll make me feel disgusted with my self, and every birthday I have I remind myself of that bare essence of humanity that I have left with the full knowledge that I'll be answering to God for the starving of many in the midst of plenty.  Depressing right? 

We all have a sense of pride with regards to our Birthday, like it's supposed to mean something, and I personally like my birthday. It's in the middle of summer, so no worrying about school or exams (Work on the other hand is another matter), weathers always pretty fantastic (I'm a child of the Desert) and best of all it's simply my day. None of my friends share a birthday with me (well a few distant ones, but I've long forgiven them for that).

We tend to look at Birthdays as a marker for our lives, where we assess what we've done, and what we still hope to achieve and combine that with traditional whining how we expected to have accomplished XYZ by then. But the truth is that age never really mattered to me. I don't feel any more mature than I did when I was 24 or 23....or 16 for that matter. I have a lot more life experiences which I hope put me in greater stead in terms of decision making (I Hope), and I try to be a better person than I was the year before, and I sometimes doubt that I am better, a lot more desensitized to certain things like corrupt politicians, suicide bombing, power outages, mass murderers (not), poor governance etc, and I doubt that makes me any better.

Today is my Birthday and tomorrow will be another day, and inside I hate the idea of tomorrow not being my very own day, but then again, so be it. Life goes on, there will (God Willing) be more Birthdays to celebrate and more tests for me undertake.

Why is it so special to me? Honestly, I have no fucking idea. Maybe the fact that it does mean something to me, without actually knowing why makes it Truly Special.


Anonymous said...

Nice post. Happy birthday :)

Alpha Za said...

Thanks Humaira

SaJ said...

Happy belated birthday...and a quarter of a century ;)

Alpha Za said...

Thanks SaJ

Age is just a number ;)

Anonymous said...

You are a nice person, Murtaza Jafri, and I might kiss you (in an affectionate rather than sexual way!) if you ever got within reach, so you'd better steer clear. I'm sorry I missed your birthday. And how strange to hear you confess you don't understand why it's so special to you. I don't remember you not having an opinion before ;)
Many happy returns of the day!

Alpha Za said...

@ Alec: Thanks man, I'll keep my future movements on the down low.

Lack of Opinion Accusation: True, probably because I tend to write about things I have somewhat of a satirical opinion about.

Rukhsana Shama said...

Hello Alpha,

Belated happy birthday, got to read your posts after quite long. It was a really good read and a very good break from your usual satire to a little emotional note. Although the satire wasn't altogether missing.

Keep writing and keep smiling!
Be blessed (all this is because of the special day:P)

Alpha Za said...

@ rsh: Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Birthday was awesome.