A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Celebrations. Not.

Posted by Pepper on April 16, 2015

And so I celebrated my birthday. Quite a strange day it was. For the first half of it, I was clearly suffering from an acute case of birthday blues. Yes, they exist. For one, I had put a ton of pressure on myself to ‘do something very special’. What that something was, I couldn’t quite figure out. I wanted the celebration to be fun, and not include only run of the mill dinner plans. I wanted to feel super happy and excited. Yet, I couldn’t zero in on any activity that would make me feel that way. To add to my woes, the preceding few days were full of being daunted by the ‘What are your birthday plans’ question. That led to an even higher build up of inner expectations. No plan seemed good enough anymore. In the end, this whole mountain of unmet expectations made me fall flat on my face.

The final plan was to go out for lunch with my family and dinner with a friend. No, it didn’t make me feel super excited the way I hoped, but we picked good places and it was the best we could come up with. It was a weekday. I had decided to skip work that day. Unfortunately, I found myself looking into some unavoidable work in the morning. That took up some time. It got me cranky. I felt very loser like for working on my birthday. How pathetic it was to be surrounded by work on my special day? Wasn’t I supposed to be out, painting the town red, glowing with happiness and feeling all perked up? But here I was, working and feeling pathetic about it. The fact that I was feeling pathetic on my birthday made me feel even more pathetic.

And then, I was under the impression that Mint had also taken an off from work. I found out in the morning that he hadn’t taken an ‘off’, he was only working from home. So I got more cranky and asked him to go to hell. Weren’t we supposed to be out, ‘having fun’ all day? Why did he have to go ahead with work from home? I was inconsolable. The fact that he had important work to complete but had still chosen to work from home in the hope that he could be around me was totally lost on me. He said we could go out for lunch and even be out ‘having fun’, because he had already completed most of his work at night. He would only be looking into it intermittently during the day. That annoyed me further and I told him I would rather have him in his office instead of watching him work ‘intermittently’ around me and spoil my celebratory mood. Everything was making me miserable. Did I already say that?

And then there was my birthday gift. Or lack of it. I expected to be presented with boxes, packed in shiny wrappers and ribbons. It was my birthday, after all. And so it was Mint’s moral responsibility to present me with atleast one birthday gift. But there was no birthday gift awaiting me. And so, I screamed and cried some more. He told me he wanted to take me to the mall during the day and buy me something of my choice, but I was inconsolable again. Gifts are supposed to be surprises. They are shiny and exciting and fun packages. Buying something of my choice was just not the same. I was miserable.

We were supposed to cut my birthday cake at my parents’ place before we left for lunch. I walked in to their home, sulking quite evidently. No amount of hugs and ‘happy birthdays’ cheered me up. I wanted to feel ‘extra special’ and I wasn’t feeling it and everything was going wrong and I was letting myself down by feeling miserable.What a mess.

Mint wanted to wash his face, so he stepped into the washroom just as my parents laid out the cake. We waited for him to come out so we could proceed with the cake cutting. He took longer than we expected and I threw a fit. I yelled at him the moment he was out. I told him it was his fault that I was feeling so miserable. By now, Mint was quite exasperated with me and he said, “Fine. Everything is my fault”. He sounded rude and stern and so I wailed. Why was he shouting at me on my birthday? This isn’t how it was supposed to go. So I wailed some more and decided I didn’t want to cut the cake at all. I threw another tantrum when my parents requested me do it. Since I was obstinate, the cake was put away.

We left for lunch. I was sulking and feeling sorry for myself. On the way we encountered traffic, that got me even more grumpy and I went through the ‘Why is everything going wrong today’ phase again. My sister joined us for lunch and was most taken aback to see me in such a foul mood. My parents didn’t know what to make of my behaviour. Neither did I. Our lunch was good in parts. I would seemingly recover, only to start sulking again when I would remember that Mint didn’t give me a birthday gift.

I don’t know what on earth had come over me. No, it wasn’t PMS. I went through the day in that ridiculous state. I recovered completely only by evening. Finally, when I met my friend and sat in front of a tall pitcher of sangria, I actually decompressed and started having some fun. I had a wonderful dinner, thankfully. On the way back, I felt really guilty for throwing tantrums and spoiling the day for my family. They had all been eager to celebrate and I had successfully ruined it all for them. So I got home, spent some good time with my family and finally ate my neglected birthday cake.

Like I said, strange day. To add to it was the disconnect I felt with my new age. I turned 29, and I really cannot relate to such a ‘big age’. I just cannot. I say the same thing every year. I sound like a stuck record even to myself, but it is truly hard to associate myself with these numbers. And considering the kind of tantrums I threw the entire day, I do not think my maturity level matches up to my age either.

While I was still trying to mentally cope with my new age the next day after my birthday, I experienced what I call my saving grace. My sister asked me to collect some notes from her classmate. The first question her classmate asked me when I met her was ‘which school’ I was in. Quite stunned, I just told her I wasn’t in school. She asked me later how many years younger I was to my sis. To that I giggled and said I was older to her, by 6 years infact. We continued talking and at one point, she mentioned something about how it was important to consider a particular factor before I thought of getting married. Again, I looked at her and told her that I had been married for 5 years. At this point, she almost fainted. She held her hand to her mouth and continued to gasp, literally. Me? I was giggling and doing a mental bhangra.

My sister looks *very* young and I have never in my life been mistaken as her younger sister before this. I was so excited, I wished I had an audience to witness the conversation. Since I didn’t, I kept telling my sis to go and ask her classmate all that she said and thought about me. I was floating in the clouds, but I knew in my heart that this was just a one off. While I may look young in relation to my true age, I know I don’t look like I am in school. It was my hair cut, and the loose fitting dress I wore that that looked more like a frock.  Anyway, I was one happy girl. The fact that I got asked asked which school I was in right after I turned 29 was the true icing on my birthday cake.

Edited To Add: I thought I might as well share the picture that was taken on that day right after I came home. You can see I am still holding the notes in my hand. I told you, it is my haircut and that outfit.




80 Responses to “Celebrations. Not.”

  1. Oh.My.God – You do look like a school girl – totally! 🙂 Belated birthday wishes, Pepper 🙂

  2. Arch said

    I feel like I wrote the first half of the post! It happens to me every single time.. I have them all – birthday blues, travel blues, outing blues etc etc. There is so much anticipation, expectation and hope that I end up disappointed anyway. :-/

    Belated b’day wishes Pepper! 🙂 You don’t look like you are 29. You do look like a school gal in that pic. 😛

  3. Reblogged this on oshriradhekrishnabole.

  4. Smita said

    Belated B’day wishes my dear 🙂

    You know what I admire in you a lot? That you have the ability to look back, introspect your mistakes!!!

  5. Boiling said

    Happy birthday. Yes, you could pass off for a school kid 🙂

    I used to have miserable birthdays because of my ‘expectations’ of how the day should be. The moment I let them go, things became nicer 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Yes, it goes without saying. You’d expect things to become nicer when you let go of expectations right? But then, how do you fully let go of them? I need to feel important and happy on my birthday. I somehow do expect it. Even the idea of not having good celebrations on birthdays makes me feel sad. I have grown to ‘expect’ them.

      Infact, Mint never celebrated his birthday while groing up, and he is very nonchalant even now. I work very hard to build up his excitement and do special things. I tell him he is weird to not feel mega excited about his day. And here I am now, wondering if i am doing something wrong by feeling so excited myself.

      • Boiling said

        On the other hand, I feel the pressure to throw a birthday party, plan and get gifts which the recipient wants immense and crushing. I also don’t like receiving gifts I don’t need or want. I find it less stressful when people don’t really celebrate their birthdays except maybe going out for dinner/lunch. Then, it is not fair I put the same pressure on others, so I decided it was easier not to celebrate mine or my husbands. He doesn’t celebrate much too, so we both go out for a nice dinner on our birthdays.

      • Boiling said

        But then, I have had my fair share of bday grumpiness because nothing special was done ha ha

        • Pepper said

          I think we’re having different definitions of ‘celebrations’. You say you don’t celebrate but you go out for dinner? Isn’t dinner celebration too? I hate the pressure of throwing / being part of birthday parties too. That’s not what I meant when I spoke about ‘wanting to celebrate’.

          I mean doing something to mark the day as special. It could be a dinner at a place that you’ve been wanting to go for long but haven’t had the chance . An indulgent spa treatment? A picnic or a hike maybe?. Or even just quiet cuddle time with a favourite movie. It could be anything. But I like it to be thought out..

          I guess my problem with only dinner plans arises out of the fact that we go out to dine in good place every other day. It’s such a regular feature of our lives. Not just on weekends. SOmetimes on weedays too. So the birthday doesn’t feel special if we do only dinner. Know what I mean? It may have been different if we went out for dinner only on special occasions..

          • Boiling said

            Maybe I was not clear.

            When I was younger (as a kid) I had great expectations of how my birthday should be celebrated but somehow they didn’t all pan out due to various reasons – like my birthday falling during summer hols, moving around or whatever. So, slowly, I did not want to celebrate birthdays because things were never the way I desired them to be (aka people did not do things the way I expected them to for my birthday) but in my heart I still wished for a great birthday celebration. Every birthday, I would feel disappointed but I had learnt to accept a disappointing birthday as part of my life. Every birthday, I would not really feel upbeat.

            Then, I thought of it. And it seemed ridiculous to me that I was sad all my life because people did not do things the way I expected them to for my birthday. I had put myself in a cage of how a perfect birthday should be and was disappointed every single birthday. And I could not really bear the pressure to come up with awesome thoughtful plans for other people’s birthdays and here I was putting the same pressure (in my head, not outwardly of course) on other people. To be truly honest, I never ever sat down and articulated to those close to me that I desired my day to be like this and that even once. i couldn’t expect people to be mind readers.

            So, I set both (myself and others) free from the birthday expectations. Thereafter, my birthdays have been more upbeat because I was not wistful wishing for a certain kind of celebration from anyone, including me. I eat out but true, eating out has become such a regular part of our lives that it doesn’t feel really super special but I am okay if I don’t end up eating out at a restaurant on my birthday due to whatever reason.

            Now, I usually try to take a day off on my birthday and I invariably try to fit in some chores when I have a day off on a week day but sometimes, I do work on a birthday. So, I don’t ways mark my birthday as special.

            I think the primary issue is the way you expect your birthday to be celebrated and the way mint (does not) celebrates birthdays. So, the easiest idiot proof way would be to sit down and articulate how you would want your birthday to be, all your expectations and tell him that doing this makes you feel very happy and it is a way of making you feel loved. If he still doesn’t listen, the only way is to let it go because he may not change on this aspect. And few weeks before your birthday, keep hinting about the exact gifts you would like? Would that help like a spa treatment package or something like that?

  6. Aaaaah , you definitely look like a school girl here 🙂

  7. Sania said

    Happy birthday! You do look so young. I have been asked if I am in school/college many times too. I will be 39 in few days, I am married & have a 8 yrs old kid. I love reading your posts. I could so relate to this post of your.

  8. Birthday blues are a thing…quite natural I think with all the build up and natural expectation to have a near perfect day. And it was only the fam who was witness to foul mood na, so doesn’t matter. I snarl at mine several times a week and then feel guilty. You can always o a non birthday lunch with them with no pressure of having a perfect day in any way and maybe you will enjoy it.Love the dress and haircut ,dude!

    • Pepper said

      It is only the family that gets subjected to all my eccentricities. Nobody else would be able to tell I am such an ass.
      The plan is just that.. to have a calm, happy lunch with all of them sometime, with no pressure.

  9. Happy birthday chica!
    Wow! You do look very young and cute in that pic. That was some strange moodiness. But I can’t say because I am very prone to those too. I am known to be super moody except at work. It’s like I have a split personality. Celebrate again over the weekend and make the most of it!

    • Pepper said

      I am super moody too, but only with my family and 2 friends. Yes, only 2. With the rest of the world I am a different person. I’ve learnt to mask my instability. At work toh I exude sanity and composure. It’s not the real me, but then I guess we never have the liberty to reflect our true selves at work.

  10. Ranjini said

    I know what you mean about husbands who don’t take birthdays seriously. When my husband & I were dating, he would drive all the way from Hyd to Bangalore all night to wish me first thing in the morning and then drive back to Hyd the same night. The presents would be very well thought out and he would make the whole day magical for me. My first birthday after marriage, he worked and I slept all day failing to fight jet lag. Do we have a culprit here? Marriage may be? I don’t give a hoot about most things but birthdays have to sweep me off my feet! I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now, I give so much build up before my own birthday just to keep him excited. So, there there! Looking like a teenager when you just turned 29 is a huge gift in itself missy, here’s wishing you have a brilliant year as a twenty something. 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Your comment really made me think. Is it marriage? Maybe, but then I had a string of exciting birthdays even after marriage. Is it that people try less hard to impress each other after they spend a certain amount of time with each other? I know that even live in relationships that last for years do not dazzle the way they did in the initial few months/ years. So is it the passage of time?

      Or does it have to do with personality type? For example, Mint’s inherent personality doesn’t make him feel excited about birthdays. He tries very hard to make it special for me. He does it on most of my birthdays (because he knows that I like and expect it, not because he cares about it too much himself). But sometimes he slips. Like he did this time. I think it’s easier for people who do not hvae to go against their own personality type to plan something. The special something, the celebration, the cheer is effortless for them. It comes to them naturally. Like it does to me.

      But for some, it takes a lot of effort. So maybe they believe they’ve already taken a lot of effort in the past and they shouldn’t be penalised if they happen to slip evry now and then? So yes, I do think it is a personality type. Just thinking aloud.

      • Belated Birthday wishes Pepper. So agree with you on the personality type.
        I am the ‘have no expectations for my bday’ kind of person. Frankly if given a choice, I would probably want a quiet day all by myself on my Birthday and I kind of start getting irritated with all the friends and relatives who call to wish me on my Bday. Hubby also luckily is of the same personality type. But we make some effort for the son’s Bday as we don’t him to start feeling that the parents don’t care.
        But the brother in law’s( husband’s brother) wife on the other hand loves having a big thing on her birthday. So she also puts in a lot of effort in sending us gifts and wishing us right at 12 on our birthdays. And gets pissed off when we wish her a little late in the day or if we dont send her a big enough gift for her bday( though she does not voice her irritation directly, we know that the poor brother in law gets reprimanded for having a family who do not care 😦 )

        • Pepper said

          Thanks for the wishes, Bubble Catcher! I guess you feel the pressure your SIL puts on you. 😦

          I must say though, that I put this pressure ONLY on my parents, sis and husband. I wouldn’t go beyond that immediate circle. It’s my personal boundary. Also,your sil expecting big gifts from her bil and his family is too much, haha. I don’t care about big gifts. I like the idea of opening a shiny package. Even if it’s merely a pack of M&M’s. I just want to feel it in my hands.

      • Ranjini said

        Yup, it sure is a personality type. My husband is like the twin brother of your husband in this aspect. He simply does not enjoy birthday hungama. This year he even went on to request me to lay low and not do anything but it was impossible for me to treat his birthday like any other day so I did what I felt like. I think it’s also that, doing what ‘I’ think is right. May be they did what they think is right? So I shrug it off thinking ‘he enjoyed everything I did for him on his birthday without complaining, so I’ll try and enjoy what he did for me (even if it’s doing nothing at all) on mine, because that’s the way he likes it’.
        And you are right, he has gone out of his way to make my day special on most of my birthdays after marriage, but then there are some that didn’t cut it for me. That’s all. But hey, the good news is that, we are still in our twenties, so there’s going to be a hundred more birthdays to celebrate!!

  11. Can I just say, been-there-done-that! And also, happy birthday! My birthday was in March, and I had possibly the worst bday ever. The build up was huge, we had planned an awesome trip to santa barbara for the bday, and few days before the trip I fell ill. So that caused the cranky mood. Add to the fact that I felt S did not hug me in the morning for my bday, and when he did hug my later, it was a totally lackluster hug. Plus, I was mad he did not take a day off on my bday (I had not taken a day off either, but that is not the point ;)) . And plus, no gift. (the trip was his gift to me, but I thought he should have gotten me at least something, even if it was something small like a chocolate or something). Add to the fact that he forgot to give me the card my mom had left with him before she went back to India. It was horrible. I sent him a very angry email saying how he had made my day very special and that he had set the benchmark very high. All that seems very childish to me now, but that day I was sooo pissed. And sad! And, that was my 32nd bday…talk about growing up and being mature. eh!

    • Pepper said

      There, I see the pattern. Build up, followed by the making of plans, followed by the failing or lack of execution of plans. It just makes everything seem more wrong than it really is. Sigh.
      And I think it is totally fair to expect atleast a small little something as a gift 😐 Makes me so mad to not have one.
      Lol! Seeing you sent an email to him made me laugh. Mint and I send emails to each other when we are mad too.

      And hey, look who surfaced. How have you been, girl?

      • I am good! Little A is keeping us super busy, and super entertained 🙂 ..And about emails..lol! Glad we are not the only ones who fight through emails. Hubby absolutely hates that, and pesters me to sit and talk calmly to him about the fight, but I am generally too mad and hyper and always end up either shouting or crying..I can articulate my thoughts much better through writing when I am angry. 😀

  12. srividhya said

    Belated bday wishes. And a bigggggggggg same pinch. My bday was exactly like that too. I get stressed that I should not get stressed on my bday. Confusing huh..
    As this was my 30th (even then I do all this tantrums and to add I am mom of 5 yr old too) bday I was expecting a lot. But the gift was not big as expected and started fighting with my hubby. My kiddo who gives hand made cards missed to give that in the morning. See from who all I am expecting. silly right??
    We both had to work and I was totally upset but couldnt help it. Went out for dinner and friends joined us and there was a surprise cake cutting. That was consoling but the day didnt go as planned.

    • Pepper said

      I’m amused. Looks like a handful of us had snappy birthdays. Well, atleast you got a gift from your hubby. Even if not as big as you expected, it’s something to hold on to.

      Btw, Vidhya, can you please check your spam folder to see if my comments lie there? I’ve stopped commenting on newer posts because nothing I say gets published. It may all be going to spam 😦

  13. Happy Birthday Pepper !

    Really are you a 6th grader ???

    I can totally relate to the age and maturity mismatch !

  14. RAMAN said

    Awwww.. What a beautiful article this was. A true from heart; few persons can describe their moods in such detail. Well, so when you are going to attain a maturity level of 29?
    I think no one of us is that much mature. We just know how to act in public. But with our loved ones, we are just the kids. What say?

  15. happy birthday pepper 🙂

  16. Deboshree said

    Happy birthday Pepper! Have a great year ahead. 😀
    The classmate is surely not at fault. I would have done the same in her place. You look super young! 😛

  17. Shweta said

    Pepper… regarding that birthday celebrations… Or the lack of it…I just have to say…. *pause for added effect*

    you.are.so.me!!!!! 😆

  18. Happy Birthday Pepper! 🙂

  19. Scribby said

    olle chota sa baccha udas tha? koi nai, happens sometimes! there are days…

    Happy B’day once again (belated this time 🙂 ) so tell me, which school? liar, you’ve been lying to us since so many years now, hai na, that you are 29 or something and all that, huh!!!!!

    ROFL 🙂

    Mwah darling, tight hugs, have a happy, healthy and young life 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Now that I’ve come out with the truth I can’t lie anymore? How will I continue to mess with people’s heads then.

      Lol. Thank you! Tight hugs!

  20. Ramesh said

    Belated B’day wishes Pepper.. I’m in Mint’s camp wrt to B’day 🎉.. As is my entire family… But I’m guessing this meltdown happened cos of all the stress you’ve been thru the past few months.. Take care..

    • Pepper said

      It’s all good when you are in the same camp as your family. I guess trouble arises when you belong to different sides.

      Actually, I don’t think the meltdown was stress driven, though I’d like to believe that and justify it. But the truth is I just threw tantrums because I didn’t have it my way.

  21. Nitya said

    Happy birthday darlin’. birthdays are hard. take it form a person who believes in celebrating her birthMONTH! I take it very seriously and I expect people around me to do so as well. But over the years Ive understood that not everyone gets it. Karthik, like Mint, is extremely chaalse about his bday. Now he knows better and gets visibly excited about mine and i have schooled both – his as well as my thinking. His, to see that it matters to me about gifts, the whole air of celebration and make sure something like that happens and mine to remind myself that its just another day and to be more chill about.

    i blame my mom really (of course. aren’t they always responsible for everything?). growing up she used to make such a HUGE fuss and deal about it that it became a norm for me 🙂

    lady, you look all of 12 years old btw.

    • Pepper said

      I swear man, I blame my parents for my elevated expectations regarding birthdays too. They were made to be such a big deal. The standards were set so high.. Oh well..

      Thank you !

  22. Bhavani said

    Wish you a very Happy Birthday Pepper…

    I know there are some days which are bad days for our moods and sorry that it happened to be your Bday….but nevertheless you ended on a happy note so that is good….

    And regarding the picture I had already mentioned in a prev post you do look like a school going kid…
    are you sure this is not a #TBT pic from your school days ;))

  23. Deepa said

    A huge hug and lots of love from V, M and moi on your happy birthday Pepper. And yes, Miss T says bow-wow.

  24. Tight hugs sweetheart and wishing you loads of happiness and fun! You look fabulous !

    Belated happy birthday! 🎊🎊🎉🎉🎈🎈🎂🎂🍰🍰

  25. Happy Birthday Pepper, have an awesome year ahead!
    And no presents? Fir toh you had every right to be grumpy!

  26. Deepa said

    Oye high school kid!!! :), that is how young you look. Belated birthday wishes!!

  27. seema3 said

    happy bday pepper–u really look like a school girl in the pic

  28. Sruti said

    Yes, you look like a school kid in that pic!
    And happy b’day!

  29. belated birthday wishes Pepper! M sure you are going to have an awesome year 🙂
    And yes, that pic of your proves you still look like a school girl, so enjoy happily that icing on your bday cake 🙂

  30. I am past 30 and with 2 kids, still expect everyone around to make a big deal of my B’day. The only thing I do different is set my expectations and tell them outright. Mentioning to the husband to ‘make sure I get a good gift!” or ‘ you are working on my surprise right?’ few days ahead actually helps 😀 Shameless, I know, but helps 🙂

    Happy 29th trip around the sun Pepper! May it be wonderful 🙂

    • Pepper said

      I was shameless too, AHK. I blatantly asked him to have a gift ready on my birthday atleast a week in advance. And yet he didn’t. That’s why I was SO mad!

  31. Belated happy birthday pepper. Such a great way of putting all your feelings into words. I read it twice..it was that interesting.
    But, I do understand what you mean. I want to feel special and be wished on my day, but at the same time I do not want to inform everyone. I am such a hypocrite. But, I guess it happens to everyone at least once in a while who loves to celebrate their birthday.
    So, have you had some “Special celebrations” later?

    • Pepper said

      Eh, sorry it’s taken me a year to reply to this comment. Wonder how I missed it!
      I am exactly like that too.. I don’t like informing people it is my birthday. And yet I want to be wishes 😀 We’re all hypocrites to an extent..haha

  32. Childwoman said

    My God!! You look like a choti ladki going for her tutions!

  33. […] the cake cutting session in the evening. I had such a lovely day. It was all so different from my 29th birthday, where everything seemed to annoy me. I guess they are right when they say, “Attitude is […]

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