Birthdays and babies are like visa-not-required ports. Almost anyone has the right to engage with you to wish you on your birthday or likewise, when you are with child, and there’s no need of clever lines to open the conversation.
So it’s a free for all, including mutual fund managers, personal bankers and insurance agents, Facebook friends, cute boy in the yoga class, PR insects, or anyone in your mailing list. And everyone deserves a thank you.
I somehow grew up on minimal birthday fuss in my childhood (being a May baby meant not being able to flaunt the birthday cake the mother baked, as most of the friends and neighbours were off to cooler climes, wearing polo necks and skiing or rolling in snow, ala Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh of yore), but birthdays have been getting more and more populated as I justify my greys. Almost enough to have a ready template for replying to messages/calls/emails.
As for the mother, the husband, the siblings, the BFF, the favourite aunt and cousin, birthday wishes are a given and slighting in any way will be an unpardonable offence, so they stick to what they do best, i.e celebrate you.
But outside of that, almost anyone has a free chance to “like” you on your birthday, or use terms of endearment, everything in the past forgiven. For potential crushes or fans, birthdays are an open window in the era of Facebook. Whether it’s the wall or a message is a choice they have to make, and whether to reply or not is a choice you have to. But how can one ignore a birthday wish? It seems wrong, somehow.
For contentious relationships, birthdays are a way to tell you, “Yes, I am still pissed, so I am not going to wish you on your birthday, see!”
So there were people who were conspicuous by their absence. May be my acerbic tongue might have said something they didn’t want to hear. May be we have outgrown each other and our friendship has reached its expiry date. May be it’s a decadent relationship that has lost its fire and is not worth stoking any more. May be we are just not into each other like we used to be. May be they just don’t have Facebook or birthday calendars or phones with reminders or just a good memory.
And then there are the excuses. “Oh, no, my Facebook page isn’t showing birthdays anymore.” Or, “I forgot to put a reminder on my phone.”
For unresolved romances or relationships that haven’t had closure, it’s a point of re-entry. “Yes, I still have feelings for you. See how I can’t seem to get your birthday out of my system?”
So ex-boyfriends, new flames, admirers and fans (not that I am trying to show off but you know what I mean) can all happily coexist under the birthday radar, say their piece and leave, if only to return after a whole year.
But then, as they say, keep the good energy flowing. It can never hurt, can it?