You and I cannot remember birthdays of everyone around us. We remember our own and of some significant people in our lives. For me, it is my immediate family – my wife, son, parents, brothers some of their family members and some close friends. I am not talking about birthdays of Jesus or Mary, Shiva or Krishna, Gandhi, Nehru or Dr. Radhakrishnan… I am certainly not talking about remembering birthdays of Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar or Lata Mangeshkar…
I am talking about remembering people around me… those I see, meet, talk, work with almost every day… even my neighbors and students… I am talking about them… Yes, I am saying that I am unable to remember all b’days… And, mercifully, I am not expected to!
Thanks to this Facebook, every morning, I am reminded to wish at least half a dozen of my FB friends… These days, FB reminds me of the upcoming birthdays, too… so that when the birthdays actually arrive, I will not forget to wish… and, the nice thing is: even if I forget, the FB reminds me of the birthday just went by… So, I can always send the belated birthday wishes, you see!
Earlier, I would religiously send b’day wishes to half a dozen or even two dozen FB friends, every day … “Happy b’day Ashok… Loads of love and wishes”. I would not simply type, “Happy b’day”…. That would be too impersonal, I would think. And, wishing someone with just “HBD”…. No, never. That would be too discourteous and insensitive, I would believe. So, it had to be, “Hi Sheela, a very happy b’day to you. Have a great year ahead” or, “Have a great day” or, “Have a great time”… or, if it is an elderly person, “Wishing you good health, love and peace.”
Wishing someone “Happy b’day” and ‘feeling’ it for that person are two different things. Most of the wishes I sent everyday to my FB friends… very honestly, I sent them mechanically… without feeling for that person – sorry, friend. I just mechanically typed, and the b’day boy or the b’day girl would respond immediately or later, individually or in bulk - ‘Thank you for your wishes… Felt blessed!”
Later, having realized how mechanical this wishing business had become, I stopped sending b’day wishes to all in the daily list… I only sent to those who I ‘felt’ for!
Simarn is a very dear student of mine who attends my classes daily. She is good in studies, she is very affectionate and respectful and it is a pleasure teaching her. Yes, that means, I ‘feel’ for Simran. Yesterday was her 20th b’day. The moment I saw her name in FB’s daily b’day list, I quickly sent her my wishes… “Happy b’day dear Simran,” I wrote, “Loads of love and wishes.”
That was around 9 in the morning. At 3 in the afternoon, Simran came for her class. And, as usual, we went about our class… When the class was over, her friend, Deepali, my another student, arrived. “Haaaai Simran…. Happy b’day”. By now, Simran was inside Deepali’s tight hug!
“Oh No, not again!” I screamed. “Come here darling… Look, how funny (read, mechanical or hypocritical!) it can be!” I said truly feeling for Simran, now… “I had sent her the b’day wishes at 9 this morning on Facebook,” I explained to students around me, “When she was here before me, for one full hour – face to face - I just forgot that it was her 20th b’day today!”
“Sorry dear,” I gently hugged Simran, “happy b’day to you… Loads and loads of love!”
Pic.: Mavourneen Peters