Birthday lessons

Anmol Bali

RECENTLY I celebrated my 22nd birthday, feeling all grown up and mature. Mature enough to understand, observe, analyse and think. This time, I was not really excited about my birthday. I thought I would wake up early in the morning and proceed with my daily routine. But the day went contrary to my expectations and taught me some lessons.

It was noon, I was reading the biography of Lenin. It was a sunny, comfortable environment, suitable for book reading. Suddenly, a friend rang the doorbell. I opened the door, he wished me, but his smile was evil and naughty. I understood that he had come with some other intention and not to just offer birthday wishes. Just then, my other three friends — hiding behind the door — stepped inside, their hands filled with cream and eggs. They applied that stinky mixture on my face, shouting ‘Happy birthday to you!’ I was shocked at what was happening with me. One of them was recording a video on his cell phone. They then took it to the next level, taking out foam sprays from their pockets and spraying it on me from all directions. My face was entirely covered with foam, I could not open my eyes and mouth.

They had also brought along a cake, but clearly not for eating. This was also for their sake of fun. Two of them pinned me down while the other landed the cake on my face, rubbing it all over. The ordeal did not end here. Two of them went to the washroom and filled a tub with water to throw on me. Another one got a bottle of Harpic. They went berserk. After all this mayhem and havoc, they went back home. My whole room was a mess, littered with water, foam and cake everywhere, including the walls and floor.

I thought about it. My friends had wasted Rs 500-600 just for their ‘fun’. It was sheer wastage of food and money. This amount could have been used to feed those in need of food. Even after 70 years of Independence, we can find paupers and homeless people everywhere, with no access to the basic needs of life. Is such wastage justified?

Another thing made me anxious. My friends had uploaded the video of their savage act on social media. I tried to take comfort in the thought that it didn’t matter — people will laugh and enjoy at my expense for two days and forget about it.

The day taught me the value of food, money and its proper utilisation. And how social media has become a tool to reveal personal moments of individuals. Not a happy scenario, but only we can change it.

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