Birthdays are a strange thing, isn’t it? You don’t remember your first birthday. But as you flip through that old photo album, the one which is filled with pictures of your childhood, you spot that series of photographs. Of your first birthday. It’s the one where you are sitting on your mother’s lap with a tearful face trying to grab the cake. The cake which has one candle. That’s how you know it’s your first birthday. The next picture reveals your father holding you, looking elated. And you? You have no idea what is going on.
The next picture which catches your eye is the one from your fifth birthday. It’s that age, where you’ve understood the significance of this day. You are wearing a pretty dress, the mandatory birthday hat and of course, that grin. It’s the cake in the picture which makes you smile the most though. You glance at the next photograph. The one which your mother had painstakingly arranged in the old photo album. And you spot your friend. Your best friend from age five. You take a second to remember the name and sadly, it takes you nearly a minute to remember the name. You smile as you remember your adventures with your friend. Your smile disappears as you don’t know your friend’s whereabouts.
As the next set of ages pass by, you can’t seem to find a single photograph of you after you’ve turned thirteen. You were so engrossed in the timeline that you forgot that your father got a digital camera the next year. You remember him happily declaring that he won’t have to go to the photo studio to develop the film anymore. Now, it will be stored in the computer. Your smile as you remember his excitement. Your smile disappears as your journey through time comes to an abrupt halt.
As you browse through the gallery on your phone, you realize that your birthday pictures have one thing in common. Your parents are not in them anymore. You are in a different city celebrating your birthday. Your parents wish you over the phone now. You miss your mother’s elation and your father’s excitement. You miss that simple cake with a single candle. Or, the special treats you would get at home. You look down at the store-bought card your friends bought you. And somehow, you try to find your happiness in that card.