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The Quest for a Birthday to Remember!

Is there redemption when we seek perfection?

Photo by sujan khalifa on Unsplash


A massive shout out to Willow Schroeder for honoring my suggestion during the Medium Pub Crawl for this month’s Pier 21 prompt.

It Was All About Birthdays

As a child, things were simpler — we rode buffalos, ran after carts, held sailing competitions using paper boats, chased fireflies at night, and our only fights were over cricket or soccer!

Birthdays were still a big deal! Even amidst all the innocence and simplicity of my childhood.

Photo by Lidya Nada on Unsplash

Back then, birthdays were the best days of my life. I would bring candy to school to share it with my classmates. The evening birthday party meant having the majority of my cousins, grandparents, and close friends over at our house.

While their company was great and I felt loved, my main attraction as a child was the gifts that they brought!

And the gifts were never enough. One of my friends or classmates would always have a bigger cake or more presents.

The Blurry One — The Infamous 21st Birthday

As I grew into my teens, there was a shift in my interests — which meant a corresponding change in how I viewed birthdays. The idea of the perfect birthday no longer revolved around having the most or the best gifts.

High school was dominated by the desire to be popular — having friends and dating the hottest girl at school.

Things didn’t matter — People did!

Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

I had moved across continents to attend College in the United States. Venturing into college, the recipe for a perfect birthday still revolved around people — except that the craziness, thrill, and adventure had been added as ingredients to the idea of being popular.

If you want to read more about my transition from high school to attending college in the U.S, here’s a piece for you:

The 21st birthday cometh! This was going to be the perfect birthday I had longed for my whole life. I had assimilated well in college, was popular with loads of friends, and everyone around me seemed even more excited about my 21st birthday than I was. My close friends meticulously planned my 21st birthday party.

Photo by Jacob Bentzinger on Unsplash

I wish I had more to tell you about it. The memory is a blur!

The idea of selfies, livestreams, and Insta feeds had not taken root yet! We just had the good old Facebook, typically used on a desktop. So, no pictorial evidence to speak of, either.

Do Birthdays Even Matter?

Soon I grew out of the allure of perfect birthdays. They did not interest me one bit — I even stopped celebrating them. My birthday celebrations would be limited to receiving texts from family and birthday wishes on Facebook.

Birthdays did not seem to matter anymore!

Found One! Or Did I?

It has been such a long night. At 3 A.M., I am exhausted. I have spent the entire day decorating our living room. Balloons, wall decorations, birthday hats…

It is my daughter’s birthday! Everything has to be perfect!

It was!

She woke up in the morning and she was over the moon. She kept hugging me and her mom and thanking us over and over again. I could see the magic in her eyes as she surveyed the decorated room.

Her birthday was a great success. We invited all her friends and their parents. She got tons of gifts. Everybody loved the food.

The evening was spent cleaning the house and taking down the decorations. I am famished but I am glad that my daughter had her perfect birthday — something that I never had.

My daughter walked in — she looked happy but tired.

“Sweetie! I hope that you had an amazing time,” I sat down on a chair. “I thought you had a great time.”

“Yes, Baba. It was great,” she hesitated, “but when I went to Grace’s birthday, they had a magic show and ……”

So the cycle begins!

I encourage you to read a wonderful Pier 21 prompt response by Felipe Leon U. I enjoyed reading the story.

I particularly enjoyed a poem by Celine D.

If you like, we can share a cup of coffee here: Tee Ess Chaudhry (buymeacoffee.com)

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My Fair Lighthouse
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