Usually an early sleeper, I used to setup a alarm for 11.30 PM in anticipation of the calls. And, invariably, there were many of them. There were some who would call much earlier than others. They would say, “I hope I am the first!” Those first calls were the ones that I most looked forward to. There were some unexpected calls (much to my delight). “Not bad, he/she remembers me!” .
But this year, it was different. Having come home very late, at around 11, I was watching television and eating dinner simultaneously, when my parents walked into the hall. In their hands were dried raisins. It was then the clock struck 12. A short rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ soon followed. They blessed and wished me a great year. They then went off to sleep.
I received no calls, until 12.08 AM when Neha, a good friend from IIMC, called up. It was the first call alright but it was different. The tone of the conversation was little mature, if I could say so. Neha didn’t ask, “What special plans for the day? Where are you partying?” Instead, we spoke about jobs, career and life in general.
Yes, phone calls from friends wishing you a very happy birthday won’t change. But, I daresay the content does change. You can call it whatever you like; be it coming of age or simple maturity. Even the call timings from your friends will change. To substantiate my latter claim, I shall recall a personal experience. In fact, during this occasion, I was the one who made the call. I still remember it was Ketan’s, another friend from IIMC. Conveniently busy during the day, I forgot to make the call. So, it was around 11.50 in the night when I finally picked up the phone. It was ages since we spoke and hence for the first few minutes we conversed generally. You wouldn’t believe, but I think I actually conveyed my birthday wishes to him after the clock struck 12, on the next day!
So, this year, when Jacob, a good friend and former colleague at DC, wished me at 11.40 PM, I told him, “There is no need to feel guilty. I am much worse.” We laughed about it.
I believe birthday calls are fast evolving. Like I have already told, its content and tenor does change. Of course, with friends being friends and machans always remaining machans, some phone calls won’t change. But that’s okay!
PS: For dinner today, I asked Amma to prepare Pongal. She did. I returned home and had it. At midnight, with a cup of Kesari- my birthday sweet.