If you have been unfortunate enough – and apparently with absolutely no opportunity cost of time – you might have read my blog or Facebook posts. If you have followed them with some level of regularity, you would have undoubtedly noticed that I get a boat load of birthday wishes on multiple days in a year. In 2014 alone, there were six days that I received birthday wishes on. In fact, the three most common questions on my blog would be: who is the photographer taking my running pictures, where is the dog when I am playing the tabla and what is my real birthday?
Re-birth theories of Hinduism be danged, it actually started as an innocuous April Fool’s prank. I had simply posted “Thank you to everybody who has made it my day so far or will so by the end of the day”. Somehow, that translated to me thanking everybody for my birthday wishes. In fact, I was thanking them – proactively – for all the chuckles I would get for falling into the trap that it was precisely devised to be.
Certainly having a random day as birthday in Facebook did not help maters. That one took me some time to comprehend. One fine September morning I woke up to a lot of birthday wishes. I had to re-check the date on my iPhone to make sure I had not gone thru a Rip Van Winkle episode. Much later, that day I connected it to the FB birthdate.
Of course, then there are well-wishers like Amitesh who gets on to the game once in a while and randomly posts a Happy Birthday message on my Facebook. That starts another deluge of birthday wishes. I guess in this day and age of social media, nobody wants to be left behind. As a matter of courtesy, I do not correct people and simply thank them for the thought behind the calendar-agnostic wishes.
The good news is that over the years, most of my readers and friends have gotten fairly accurate when it comes to the month. The date is a whole different thing. I get wishes from about four days before my real birthday and lasts for another couple of days after the birthday. It does not help that my younger daughter and I have consecutive birthdays leading to more confusion among even very close friends and family.
While reading a book on math – of all possible things – I found out that my birthday is somewhat unique. No, I am not going to bore you with historical events on this day or famous and infamous persons born on this day. Having to carry my name is enough of a burden for the day, I reckon.
What I found out is that there is a human gene that is named after my birthday! I will be even more precise – it is the tenth gene in the human chromosome.
I looked up Wikipedia which confirmed that but then threw a slew of minimum-thirty-letters-long biological words at me. I struggled through some of it but gave up when I had to deal with one “dash” too many in those freakishly long names. Went back to my math book.
So, there you go. You will never forget my birthday again, ever. It is in your genes.
I question your priorities though 🙂
“Aaye bunthun ke shehr-e-khamooshaan mein woh
Qabr dekhi jo meri to kehne lage
Aray aaj itni to iski taraqqi hui
Ek beghar ne accha sa ghar le liya”
“Now the town folk have arrived well dressed and in silence
Having seen my grave, they started saying
That finally, I have reached some success
The homeless person finally has found a good home”
I can’t even remember how many years it has been that I have been wishing people on their birthdays. It used to be mostly by emails – and that was pretty unique till Facebook came along and everybody started wishing on FB. That is when I had to up my game by moving away from email to making phone calls. Today, it is much easier for me to call and wish than email and wish.
It is a routine now – morning before going to office, I finish off the wishes to people in the eastern half of the world. After lunch or during lunch break, it is usually the folks in Europe. And after office or evening are the folks in US. Still averaging about 8 to 9 phone calls a day.
Today, I had two of the more interesting phone calls.
The first one was to a lady who I caught today in the middle of her lounging in the San Diego sun in her retirement years. She seemed genuinely thrilled to talk to me. She asked me how I had such a great memory. I admitted that I did not have a great memory – I just write birthdays down. We chatted for over fifteen minutes. She insisted that we meet two weeks from today when she would be visiting Chicago. I am going to test her and see if she remembers how we met the first time about ten years back. The truth is she was our customer and the only time I had ever seen or talked to her was when she had called me to her office to fire us!! I am sure we will get a great chuckle.
The second was a colleague that I had met once in Brazil. I had kept up with him thru my birthday calls and then one day, his numbers and emails stopped working. Later, I tracked him down to Utah – of all places!! Today, I called him. Took him two minutes to remember who I was. Then it hit him!!!
His follow up message says it all!!
Birthday wishes are about making the recipient happy. In a weird way, that happiness came back one full circle today!
“Yeh bhi andaz-e-guftagu hai koi
Jab karo dil dukha ke baat karo
Hum tadapte rahenge yahan raat bhar
Tum to aaraam ki neend so jaaoge”
“What style of conversation is it that you have
That brings suffering to my heart whenever I hear you talk
I will toss restlessly thru the night here
And of course you will sleep restfully over there.”
The saying is not original – it is from Seneca.
The following article is not original either – I got this from a group that focuses on Stoicism. (Roger, remember?)
Got a chuckle out of reading this. Well made points with simple explanations.
When you zoom out far enough, almost everything becomes absurd. Think about it: We are monkeys living on a space rock. We are a split second of the infinity of existence. If humanity survives long enough, people will laugh at us the way we laugh at Neanderthals. People used to have serious arguments about how many angels could fit on the head of a pin or whether the world was flat. They not only thought kings were a good idea, they thought they had divine right! What do you think they’re going to think about the arguments we have today? Or even our cutting edge science?
Even WWI is funny with enough distance. One archduke was assassinated and the entire world went to war over it. For basically no reason. And then, even after millions of people died, everyone was so stupid that they immediately forgot the lessons of the war and had to fight it again a generation later!
The troubles you’re having at work will be ridiculous to you three jobs from now. Think about all the things you cared about when you were a teenager and how silly they seem to you today—now consider that this exact evolution will happen to you at middle age, and again in old age if you are lucky enough to live that long. Think about something that’s really frustrating you about your neighbor or your parents. Now imagine telling a person in Syria or North Korea about it. Your neighbor doesn’t mow his front lawn or trim his bushes? Your dad forgot about your daughter’s dance recital? They would think you were joking! You’re seriously telling me that’s what’s on your mind? That’s what bothers you? You’re hilarious!
Draw back and laugh. It’s freeing. It’s a relief.
Credits to “The Daily Stoic”
Tonight is our Day Light Savings night. Basically, at after 1:59am, the clocks jump to 3:00am. Which means 2 am is the same as 3am. And yet, when I went to check the weather channel for the forecast, this is what I got…
How can we have 50% forecast of rain and also 80% for exactly the same moment of time?
“Kafan mein khud ko chhupa liya hai
Ke tujh ko parde ki ho na zehmat
Naqaab apne liye banakar
Hijaab tera utha raha hoon”
Sung by Nusrat. Incredible words from the pen of Allama Muhammad Iqbal.
“I have hidden myself in my shroud
So you don’t have to take the trouble of putting on your veil
By making a veil for my own self,
I am lifting your veil”