Beaten by the birthday blues

As I toss and turn, wrestling with unresolved sleep issues, I spend the time trying to figure out how best to trap treacherous time in a bottle before my next birthday. 

Published: 18th September 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th September 2022 05:59 PM   |  A+A-

I am mildly envious of people who are into celebrating the little things in their lives, particularly birthdays. They seem so happy swirling around in a candy-coloured Tim Burtonesque fantasy land apparently feeling blessed, blissed out and filled to the brim with the love and laughter in their lives. When my birthday rolls around with clockwork-like precision despite my vehement efforts to freeze time using a telekinetic chokehold, I become so cantankerous, I make the Grinch seem like little Miss Sunshine hopped up on happy pills. 

All I can see in the mirror is the awkward, pimply adolescent I once was in a belligerent biddy’s body. Taking note of increasingly creaky joints, I brood over the process of ageing while counting the rapidly proliferating grey strands and bemoaning my lack of success in establishing a diplomatic relationship with my weighing scale. Politely responding to all the sweet people who send birthday wishes, I make myself feel worse by dwelling on the things I was supposed to have achieved, but haven’t.

Despite my plan to see the world and explore its wonders Ibn Battuta-style, I spend most days pottering around the house with all the zip of a zombie while wishing I could sleep all day. Then when it is beddy-bye time, I stay up late adding weight to the bags beneath my eyes, trying to master the formula for instant success and land a big fat book deal or create a cutting-edge app that will allow me to buy Chennai Super Kings and outbid Elon Musk to takeover Twitter. 

While drowning my sorrows in Nutella milkshake between bites of birthday cake, I wish I had taken better care of my teeth. It is no fun to spend hours in a dentist’s chair while he wields terrifying implements, no doubt lovingly envisioned and first employed by the Marquis de Sade. Sugar may rot your teeth, but it does induce a sickly sweet high that lulls you into believing that it is not too late to turn your life around.

I resolve to invest in Bitcoin, oil and gold, which seems like the sort of thing smart people would do. Going forward, I promise myself that I will nurture and cherish the bonds with all those who truly matter, especially the ones who had made it a point to call me, patiently listened to my endless whining and assured me that I was not a complete waste of space, instead of devoting time and attention to accruing an army of followers on Instagram. I shall make a commitment to fitness and begin the odyssey to find a better version of myself.

Feeling revitalised, I tell myself that the year is off to a great start though the sugar rush is giving way to inevitable despondency. As I toss and turn, wrestling with unresolved sleep issues, I spend the time trying to figure out how best to trap treacherous time in a bottle before my next birthday. 

Anuja Chandramouli, author and new age classicist. You can reach her at

India Matters


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