Haruki Murakami: Birthday Stories.

March is my birthday month. So when I got this anthology series some time back, I decided to save it as a birthday present for myself.

Strangely united in opposite thinking, the writers featured have all chosen to depict birthdays in a shadowy gloom. Who would decide to murder on his birthday? Or pick young prostitutes as a present to her graying husband?

She said if she had her life to live again, she would never have climbed back into that car. She’d have stayed behind and turned into a streetwalker sooner than go home. Nine children she bore him. When her grandson asked what made her get back in, her answer was, “Those were the times I lived in. That’s what I believed. I thought I didn’t have a choice.”
—Claire Keegan, Close to the Water’s Edge

With the aged, there’s always a sense of sorrowful regret, for what could’ve been but never was. On the flip side, the young would gladly squander good years with impish ignorance. While us, those stuck in-between, can never quite triumph over the harsh demands called reality.

Life, in all its miraculous goodness, surely can’t be that pessimistic, right? A voice, soft but resolute, echoes inside.

There was a brutal pathos in the game of dice, the little chuckle, the toss, the click, the overwhelming significance of the dots.
Paul Theroux, A Game of Dice

A brutal autopsy of human nature with a dash of perplexity. So, i guess this might not be the best birthday present after all, if the recipient is anyone but yourself.

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