He walks into the class, wearing a new shirt. He beams at everyone. He is happy. He thinks of all the attention he will get this day - friends will wish him "Happy Birthday", maybe the entire class will sing for him. He is even prepared for the infamous 'birthday bumps'.
The days is nearing the end, almost time to go home. Nothing so far. He sits on the stairs of the college entrance and tells his group of friends, "Today is my happy birthday, wish me!" An embarrassed crowd of fellow-students grab his hands, shake it vigorously and wish him. It didn't feel like he thought it would!
"Poor Sod! He doesn't have any friends who care enough. To remember. To do something special for him".
She tells him what cake she would like and reminds him a couple of days in advance. There is no good time to cut it, for everyone is busy. Finally, she brings it out in the evening and calls everyone. She arranges the candles around the cake and brings out the camera. She takes a few pictures, lights the candles and waits. She is torn between singing 'Happy Birthday To Me' or asking them to sing for her. She decides to let both pass. Candle blown, cake cut. She feeds him a piece of cake and he walks away with his share.
"Poor bitch! Her family are playing along and no sign of friends. Nobody to make her feel special".
On the other hand...
He wakes up, excited about wearing new clothes and growing a year older. He walks into class to the welcome sound of classmates cheering and greeting him. He feels like a king. A birthday song, a few bumps later, he takes them out for a 'treat' - consisting of a dosa or naan or samosa. By the end of the day, his cheeks hurt from all the grinning and laughing.
"I am so lucky, I love my friends, I love college, I love life!"
She wakes up to a warm hug and the card her husband left for her to find on the pillow. The bell rings and the rest of the family pours in with hugs and squeals. Just when she begins to feel special, the doorbell rings. Flowers from her friend. She is on cloud 9. The rest of the day passes by in a flurry of opening gifts, laughter, making a sweet and cooking lunch, phone calls from the special people in her life. Her favourite cake is brought home in the evening, everyone gathers to sing 'Happy Birthday', cameras click and a fancy dinner later, she is ready to retire. As she hugs herself to sleep, there is a smile on her face.
"I am so blessed. I have the best family and friends. I love my life!"
Why are other people so important, for us to be happy? Why do we look to approval from our beloved ones to be able to enjoy what life offers us? Why do we reach out to someone, when we think we need a good moment to brighten our dull day?