Thursday, March 17, 2005

Happy Birthday

I'm reading a book after dinner at canteen 1 when I notice a flickering light from the next table, like someone lighting a cigarette.

It turns out that a girl is lighting the 2 candles on a cake, while her boyfriend looks on.

I suspect that that cake is too big for the couple.

When the candles are lit, the girl sings "happy birthday", while her boyfriend looks on.

He blows out the flames.

The girl removes the candles, cuts a piece from the cake, and serves the boyfriend. Then she walks away.

She comes back with a styrofoam food box, and packs the remainder of the cake into the box, while her boyfriend eats the cake.

From where I'm sitting, I can only observe the boyfriend's face. He doesn't look happy at all.

They leave the canteen after they are both done.

Happy birthday.

The words we often say without meaning.

Happy birthday.

The words we often write without thinking.

Happy birthday.

The words we often sing without feeling.

Happy birthday.

Empty words.

* * *

Warning: rambling below.

I've often wondered why we celebrate birthdays.

Just because we were born on a certain date, and the earth completes an orbit round the sun and it's cause for celebration? What if I'm born on a moon colony - do I celebrate every time we go round the earth or the sun? Or what if I'm born on a Pluto colony - does it mean I don't get to celebrate my birthday, since I'd be long gone before Pluto completes an orbit?

And why birthday anyway? Being born is nothing more than coming out of my mother's womb - which is really not that much different from coming out of, say, a lecture theatre. Conceptionday makes a bit more sense to me - that's the day when dad's sperm joins with mom's egg, the day when I am conceived and conceivable.

Maybe my parents prefer to forget the circumstances that led to my conception. How would I feel if they told me that I was the result of some activity in the backseats of Lido? Or perhaps in a bird sanctuary at East Coast park? Or maybe they really didn't know which place it was?

And why happy birthday? Must I be happy on my birthday? Wouldn't it be more interesting if, every now and then, someone wishes me a "sad birthday", "depressing birthday", "you-think-your-birthday-very-great-is-it birthday"?

Stress does wonders to my mind.

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