Sharmila Dhal, Chief Reporter, XPRESS Image Credit: XPRESS

Birthday babies make for a myriad lot. They come in different shapes, sizes and ages. Equally diverse is the variety of their celebrations. If we’ve been around long enough, we would’ve seen them all: the themed tick-in-the-boxes; the great escapes; the bizarre bashes with friends and friends of friends; the surprise parties that are no longer surprises; and, how can we forget, the “quiet” family dinners for good social media measure.

Thanks to Facebook and WhatsApp, we’re now inundated with wishes not only from our near-and-dear ones but also those that not so near and dear. The constant buzz puts us under undue ‘post’ pressure. But like ‘peer’ pressure, that is up to us to manage. After all, nothing can be more personal than a birthday. How we celebrate it or publicise it is our prerogative.

While there are some who make a big deal out of their big day, others let it pass like it’s just another date. The large majority, to be fair, stands somewhere in between.

But all of this is beside the point. Let’s get down to the bottom line.

As birthday treats go, we’ve grown up with two typical scenarios. We either host our own birthday party or are treated to one by loving family and friends who do it of their own volition and with consensus.

As it turns out, there’s another variant too, where the birthday baby or someone close unilaterally comes up with a fancy plan at a fancier place and extends a privileged invitation to a select list of guests. But there is a catch: the guests must pay their share or go Dutch.

I have heard of at least four such instances in recent months. It is perhaps a sign of the cost-conscious times we’re living in. Thankfully, I haven’t received an invitation of this kind yet. But if and when I do, I will not think twice before turning it down.

My reasons are my own. I cannot fathom the compulsion behind such an imposed celebration. I do not buy the argument that the party would provide me a golden opportunity to have a good time. Surely, I can find other avenues. Now would I be guilty of being a party pooper? Not quite, it’s a pay-or-stay-away affair, remember?

I wish all birthday babies well, make no mistake. But if they wish they’re wished on the terms they wish to be wished, that’s wishful thinking.

- The writer is Chief Reporter, XPRESS