8th of May.
The day I used to await since I don’t remember when!
A day to fulfill promises, which were never fulfilled hitherto. A day, which invoked some hidden magic. A day, which caused the usually surly dad to officially proclaim in a gruff voice that he wishes me happy whatever. I was simply lost in the bliss of the word happy and didn’t cares what he said later? Pig? Dog? I never remember listening. It was the day I was born.
I’m unfortunate enough to be born on the worst of the dates a man can ever conceive of! Plumb in the middle of vacations when the schools were closed and all the friends were off to visit their native places. I never ate my birthday cake in schools. I never distributed chocolates and basked in the glory of being the only guy in civilian dress. A peacock in the covey of buzzards! I know they are. I was one till I was in schools. Well, schools. Plural. I was kicked out of many. No one appreciated the talents of a genius, it seems. I guess, they were jealous of my fame or whatever people get jealous of. The point is, I never celebrated the Famous 8th May.
I managed to clear the drudgery of school and got elevated to the cadre of future geniuses. I was on the way to being more educated than Thomas Alva Edison. I went to a college, which was reluctant to have me initially, but gave in when the local corporator threatened them. Again I got the short straw. No birthday celebrations for poor Rakesh!
Same status quo continued in engineering college. Now, I was resigned to this unfairness. I wanted to end the education, get a job and proudly tap my boss on his shoulder… ‘Hey Buddy! I need a leave tomorrow. I was born on 8th May, you see?’ I finally got married to the first foolish woman, who wasn’t fast footed enough to get away, and got a job too.
The first birthday after the kids was lonely again, as my better half decided to be better off. She went to her parents place. The kids, who conveniently are born on 15th of March and 17th of October were more than happy! I bought a cupcake, stuck a scrawny candle and cut my cake…. and ate it alone.
This 16th year of marriage, history repeated itself. Guess, even history has this beast of habit like us mortals to repeat itself! On the eve of my birthday, that is, yesterday, I was despondent. Despondency, like frustration has it’s own safety valve. You forget after sometime that you are despondent. I went to office and forgot all about the famous 8th May. I came back from my last break at 12.15 am and was slapped and shook by everyone. I was astonished!
The surprise ended in our cafeteria, where The Team awaited with the most beautiful cake I had ever seen! The cake emulated all I lost. The cake was like the Alice’s cake! Fulfilling! Not the stomach, which is simply a slave of the mind. It fulfilled desire. It was a fulfilment of missed dreams. It was a fulfilment of a lost childhood.
Happy Birthday, Rakesh Pandey!