Many Happy Returns
They say one good way to surely never forget your wife's birthday is to forget it just once. It is then easy to understand how many rice in how many paddies. That lesson is also somewhat true for a husband. Or for that matter any soul mate. And in Bangladesh that includes half the city you live in.
The speciality of an anniversary is howsoever one may pretend to be unaware about one's special day, deep inside perhaps it is everyone's wish that at least some near and dear ones would remember, wish, spring a surprise with a box of 'cholesterol-free' chocolates…
Sometimes there is total mayhem. They all remembered at the stroke past midnight, singing out-of-key that eternal song, no one remembers who composed. They had to for only the day before you asked the birth date of Prince Karim Aga Khan as a subtle freshening up of their mind, as it were. Attired in your sleeping dress or something looser, you raise your eyebrows to kiss the hairline above your kapaal, giggle on and off, and then succumb to the embrace/s that you yearned for. Read: yelled for, quietly.
Sometimes they throw a surprise party. They ask you to go out for a meal, a small family affair, and hola! Everybody is there. As if you did not expect it. You would be surprised if only four of you did have that meal and you did not have to pay. But how can it be a surprise birthday party when it IS your birthday? Should it not be on a day when you least expect it? But that's how traditional these ceremonies are.
Sometimes you really forget. How! Don't ask me. I am not the one who is unable to rest his bottom on a wooden chair. Why are people so harsh if you forget? It is because it is not a thing to forget. You are seeing someone everyday. If living apart you are thinking of someone every moment. You are supposed to. So forgetting is not really an option, but it has happened, and it will.
One cellular way to remember is to set the VIB (very important birth date) on your mobile set, and tune it to give you an alarm a few hours or a day before. That way you have time to buy a present, if you are serious. Otherwise leave the set at home and express your regret wholesale. People who least expect your holler of a wish will be impressed by your memory and your thoughts. But that does not mean you should wish a montree serving time. They are also not allowed to receive any flowers, lest you smuggle a mobile set in the bouquet.
The crunch question is what do you do if you really, honestly forget? Here are some suggestions, but don't try these at home, as they see right through you.
Men: you could say you intentionally did not wish her because she was looking so much younger than before. I will admit to you it does not work.
Ladies: you could say you did not want to be common like all the others and waited for some privacy (after the party was over) to wish him. With guys, anything and everything works.
Men and women: you could say the following day (any day later is unacceptable to people with any amount of dignity) that you wanted to prolong the merriment of the birthday of such a special person, and so the delayed wishes. It, kind of, works because there is a sprinkle of honesty.
I came to know about Star Weekend Mag's surprise anniversary party, read issue, only in Sunday morning's The Daily Star, as a front page announcement leaked the news. That was a moment of joy for me and all sorts of memories, mostly happy, rushed by. Golly and by Jove! We are that old! My elation was short-lived, as on the same afternoon I was informed to my surprise: my piece had to be in that day by three, it was past the deadline. Surprise! Surprise!
My delight was then like that of the mother of the house who was wished profusely on her birthday, a big surprise (!), and was told of several guests who were on their way to her house to celebrate her big day, and she had to rush to the kitchen to prepare some food for the party that was about to begin.
The mother did not complain. Her near and dear ones deserved a befitting shindig.
Nor am I. Star Weekend Magazine deserves the biggest party in town.
P.S. There have been several heavy-worded responses to a letter by a reader published in the Chintito Letters 23 May 2008. Considering this being our birthday issue, we have deferred publishing some of those letters under 'public reaction' till next Friday. Thank you for being with us.
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