Notes on a birthday

One more year and one more birthday has come. Today marks my 32nd year of existence on this earth. 32 is big. It’s almost half a life time. I should be glad and thankful for having lived and survived through these years. World over people die from birth, from malnutrition, poverty, snake bite, in riots, wars and invasions, natural calamities, road accidents, to AIDS and cancer. But here I am.

Am I happy for myself? Yes, I am. I am happy when I look back to the trail. It could not get any better and I wouldn’t change any of the events that happened in my life (except that I wish if I could revert some of them like the death of my brother and a good friend). The journey has been exciting so far and I hope it will continue to be so. And satisfied? No. Not completely. I think being completely satisfied could kill your spirit.

Then there are changes. When I was young, I thought 30 is the stage that one would turn old and now that I am past 30, I think 80 is what you should call old (I don’t know what 80 would make me think about being old). In my teenage, I used to laugh at older men with pot bellies and now I look at my growing tummy and say ‘well, it’s okay’. When an older colleague told me that he ate only two chappathis for meals and completely avoided red meat, I pitied him. I was 29 back then and he told me that I would soon understand what he meant and asked me to do regular medical checkups once I turned 30. And just as I turned 30 and took a lipid profile test, I found my cholesterol level high. I was surprised (cholesterol? me? no way!) but changed my food habits thereafter. When I grew some beard recently, I noticed that a couple of strands of my hair have turned white and I was excited (I don’t know if the excitement would sustain if I found my whole hair turned grey or white). Being called ‘brother’ was fine but now being called ‘uncle’ seems odd. It is kind of a refusal that I am growing old. But I am yearning to hear my son calling me Appan (father) but he calls me chettan (brother) instead).

So perhaps this is just a small beginning of big surprises and changes to come in life. I mean, not just the physical changes but everything. And I hope I will have the courage to accept it gracefully. So here is to another birthday, another year in life. With all it’s shortcomings, challenges and pain life is still so beautiful!