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     Volume 4 Issue 66 | October 7, 2005 |

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Slice of Life

Not Everyone Forgets

Richa Jha

The Hubby woke me up, gleefully saying "Rainy day, rainy day. No school today, so sleep."
I asked him if he wasn't forgetting something.
He said, "Ah yes, you don't need to wake up our son. Sleep, sleep."

The mobile beeped. My service provider was wishing me many happy returns of the day. The Hubby asked who it was. I said nothing; some right message had landed in a wrong mail box. You sleep.

So he slept. I too tried to, but what was the point? I would have to sound fresh on the phone once the calls would start pouring in.

Barring the few calls from the immediate circle of family and friends, for the rest, my birthday came and went without the faintest recollection of me. Until a few days ago, I would have kicked up a fuss by midday. But this time, I was more understanding.

You see, last month I did the unthinkable: I forgot my parents' anniversary. I remembered it ten days before, five days, even the day before it, but it just evaporated on the given day. My brothers lost no time in rubbing it in that their 'darling' daughter had forgotten to wish them. The youngest one checked with them seven times during the course of the day whether I had called, and then, at midnight, sent me an SMS saying, "Congratulations Sis, you are no longer their favourite!"

I did have the option of calling later and apologising, like I do with others. Emphasis is discreetly laid on a keen intent. A busy network, warped phone lines, a spate of wrong numbers, a dead phone, a broken satellite link, and so on, are shown to be the culprits. I am not the one to forget such important days, am I? It usually works. As long as you make up suitably for the damage done, dear ones don't mind. But then, they are not your parents. You can't bluff your parents!

I squirmed, and swore never to throw tantrums when someone else forgets to wish me in future; which explains my composure this time. I am not sure at what precise moment the realisation dawned upon The Hubby, but whenever it did, it must have hit him hard. He came scampering into the room and panted, "A rose for a Rose," handing me the flower in decidedly, the most romantic gesture of his life. The molten lava that was waiting to erupt, subsided keeping in mind that I shouldn't be spoiling my mood on my birthday. I could have condoned the gravest of crimes that day! Moreover, later on, I did see a Post-It on his study table in red (bold, caps) saying 'Birthday, birthday, tomorrow morning, the first thing'. He may have probably thought of sticking it on his pyjamas or pillow, but looked like he forgot. And sleep does do funny things to sane people. I let it pass.

I have never been good with others' dates. But I do expect others to be good with mine! Your birth date looks attractive to you, and it is difficult to see how anyone would possibly forget it. But forget, we do, and by the time we remember, it is usually too late.

After the faux pas with my parents, I have become more organised, and more sensitive to possible goof-ups by others. Since then, I have been duly replying to all the Birthday Alarm reminders that clog my email inbox. I think, next to the "send-to-twenty-more-people" spams, these b'day knock-knockers are the most frequent these days. To feed a personal piece of information into the system, and program it to sing the happy b'day song in the morning may sound mechanical, but at least it still shows that someone somewhere cares.

Though it is an altogether different matter that one needs to be mentally alert while doing the filling-up exercise. I have wrongly filled in my child's birthday in my college e-group databank. Every year on a particular day, my mailbox croaks under the deluge of auto-generated congratulatory mails from around the globe exactly five days after my son's actual birthday.

Back to my birthday, my friends forgot to wish me, but there were several others who didn't. In most cases, I had no clue who it was! My mobile kept busy with incoming text messages, I spent the day downloading birthday greetings from all over the world, received three cards by post, and two hand delivered bouquets. That is too much attention and affection to handle all in a day. Listing out a few:

  • The Rickshaw-Pullers Association of Dhaka (I have used their services once in my four years of stay, don't recall filling up any feedback form).
  • The Confederation of Fried Chicken Outlets (have attended two kiddy parties, and left behind a rather pointed criticism in at least one of the customer service forms).
  • The Asian Rice Lovers forum (remember filling up some questionnaire in a small eatery in Nakhom Pathom, Thailand).
  • The World Window Shoppers Club.
  • The John Abrahams Fanclub of India (I don't care if I am the only one there).
  • The Association of Happy Wives of Harried Husbands (a life long member).
  • The Second Hand Book Collectors Club (I was certain my membership had expired, but perhaps they too, like most credit card services, have started offering free renewals).
These, and several more, they all remembered. A trifle bothersome keeping track of these all day, but to tell you the truth, I didn't mind the bombardment. It felt special being remembered.

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