I turned 26 yesterday on what has to be the most depressing birthday of my life. It's not that I am obsessed with birthdays or that I want every person on the planet to remember me on Makar Sankranti (an Indian festival which falls with unwavering precision on January 14 every year).
But... I am human and unlike Robinson Crusoe who could get by with Man Friday, I have made it my life's mission to hunt for a very rare and endangered species -
Wanted: People who remember my birthday and wish me.
This category does not include my parents and brother, who I honestly admit forced a very tired and reluctant yours truly to stay up late on Friday the 13th so that the family could gulp down plum cake at midnight.
On D-day, I got up really early (5.30 am - Ouch!) to go to office which is more than an hour's bus ride away. It being Makar Sankranti, there were plenty of stories in our files to remind me (and fellow colleagues) of my birthday.
Unfortunately, the stories did not work and despite several hints, my colleagues remained blissfully unaware of the importance of the occasion.
In the meantime, I received several calls from friends and acquaintances and people I had forgotten - all wishing me Happy Birthday but it didn't have any effect on my steadfast colleagues who have put up with my presence for almost two years.
Just when I was about to give up and mimic something on the lines of 'It's a dunderhead's world,' Friendly Ghost walks up and wishes me.
FG: Happy Birthday
Toe Knee: Sssssh! (look around to see if anyone is listening but unfortunately nobody heard it). Thank You.
The Ghost was sworn to secrecy. "Do not betray me and my birthday."
My shift over, I rush over to the Magazine Desk where I have to submit a story. Here too, history repeats itself and no one bothers about the birthday boy. I skip lunch because I have a deadline to meet.
I leave the office, tired and exhausted at six in the evening. I soon get a bus only to find myself caught in a traffic jam. (Groan!)
I reach home at eight pm to find it locked. My wonderful parents had decamped somewhere. What could I do? I sink into the couch and watch the second half of 'The Day After Tomorrow.' (Crummy movie)
Even recounting this has become tedious now and I can sense the predicament of readers who are waiting for the end of this sob story. Sigh!
My parents arrive at ten. There's no nice dinner in the microwave. No sizzling takeaways in their hands. The solution - leftover sabzi from the refrigerator and Harvest Gold bread. This meagre dinner over (I now totally empathise with the Israelites who wandered around in the desert for 40 years) I curl up in bed and drift off to sleep. Life is miserable.
For all those moved to tears by the plight of this great journalist, there's a moral in the story. January 14, 2007 is not too far away - Get ready to wish me next year.
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