Sonia Samal
2 min readOct 29, 2023

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Happy birthday indeed?

The essence of genuinely good memories

Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash

During one of my recent evening walks inside my apartment complex, I saw this poster for a kid’s birthday. There was a huge circular board which said ‘4’ in bright blue, against a white background. It was cute and I wondered if the birthday boy/girl would react in a similar manner.

I don’t remember being smart at 4 or rather I don’t remember much of what happened in my early childhood, barring a few events of prominence. So I was bound to question the importance of these mega birthday celebrations for kids under 5. Is it really for the kids or their parents?

If I had to recall any of my birthdays during childhood, I specifically remember the cake which remained a constant for many years. One of my aunts used to bake them at home with an approximation of ingredients, never a perfect measurement. I can proudly claim to have had scrumptious birthday cakes and to this day I prefer a plain sponge cake to those exquisite cream-laden versions!

On one such birthday I was made to sit on the dining table and had a few neighbouring kids standing next to me. I don’t remember anything else on the menu. Just that I felt happy cutting this big homemade cake which I anticipated to be delicious. Did I need a big party or designer costumes to create a happy memory? I don’t think so.

Researchers say kids don’t need much to be happy. They need deliberate attention and they can make toys out of anything. Is it then wise to indulge in excessive gifting and celebrations? Apparently if kids are allowed to create their own games, there are higher chances of them being inventive in future.

If I were to question grand celebrations, even adults don’t need them as much as they assume! How often have we felt contented after a big party, in comparison to days when we had an honest conversation with a friend or a family member? If we observe the actual post-effect of an experience we would arrive at the right answer.

Sometimes, celebrations are necessary to mark a life event but balancing out the indulgence can help us cut out distractions. If an experience truly brings us joy, we should graciously indulge in it but on many other occasions simpler choices might make life more meaningful!

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Sonia Samal

Software engineer with a soft corner for writing. I chose to write because words have the power to take us beyond the ordinary sometimes!