Happy Birthday, my friend!


On the day of my friend’s birthday I called him up and started singing the familiar tune, I usually don’t do that as my singing talents are not understood by many, but I have noticed people like it when you wish them like that on their birthday. So I was a bit taken aback, when he didn’t react as joyously as I expected. Maybe my singing talents had heightened even more than last year?

I have a good memory for dates, and like most other girls, I can remember anniversaries and birthdays even very casually (point to be clarified: unlike many other girls, I don’t even try to remember the sillier dates) So I never forget any of my friends’ birthdays. I do not always get around to wishing people, but that’s whole another story (I’m lazy, procrastinating is my hobby, etc etc).

Now, the friend i am talking about is a good friend of mine. And it is not that we are completely out-of-touch (whenever I am out-of-touch I procrastinate, don’t you? Well, I am shy!!) so I expected him to expect my call. But the last of tha last things I expected him to was sound forlorn. Okay, he could have been unenthusiastic, bored (when I call you ain’t allowed to be that but well, can be a possibility) or even neutral but sad? I was surprised. Did I make a mistake? Isn’t it his birthday today?


I couldn’t resist asking him, was anything amiss? How’s every one? He answered normally and everything was good but that underlying sadness persisted. So, given my exuberant character, as usual, I took it upon myself to cheer him up. To hell with the reason.

And I stumbled across it.

We were in our Masters togethers. We had this big group of friends. So my first natural question was, “So, tell me who were the ones who already called/wished before me? Huh?” He paused and replied, “All my friends here (in his para that is, friends in the locality) and S***** and you. That’s about all.” S***** was one of our group.

I know boys aren’t at all good with dates but does that excuse hold when we have reminders on Orkut and Facebook for them. Is it justified when for the last two years we had been celebrating each of our birthdays big-time?

He was one among the few who had got selected to go to Germany for his PhD, and he couldn’t go due to, let’s put it as, red tape. And no one asked how he was holding up.

He had once told me, “Last night I was looking at all our photos. We had a great time didn’t we? And I was feeling down, yaar!”

I had replied, “Yea, of course we will miss the good ol’ days of being crazy!”

And he said, “Yes. that’s true but that wasn’t why I was feeling low.”

He clarified. “We just left college for a few weeks and no one, absolutely no one ever called me up once to ask how was I faring. No one cared to ask about anything that didn’t concern themselves. No one even SMS-ed. Not even _____ (who had been his friend much longer than I had been). Have they already forgotten?”

I felt angry and I felt hurt. For him. For us. Was our cherished friendship so incomplete?

He had no hope that anyone, anyone at all will remember his birthday (mind you, Orkut was still displaying his birthday), remember him. And he had given it up as a lost cause.

I finally did manage to cheer him up with my usual nonsensical words. He was glad that I remembered (I think) but he’s already stopped expecting from anyone and that could and would include me too. It saves him a world of hurt.

Is this what being an adult is all about? Stop expecting? Giving up on people? Where have all the goodness gone?



Is this really true? Is this what life is all about?

N.B. This friend is as emotional as I am but not as introvert or controlled (whichever you prefer) as me, and much more eloquent about his feelings. I understood what he felt and what he thought, that’s why I decided to air all that was in his heart but had no one to share with. Because people do not understand, and they will remain obtuse unless you poke a finger in their eyes.

[Ooopsie, I got very serious today! But when I am marshalling, there’s usually no stopping me! *sigh* What can I say? A purpose in a nomad’s life! *sigh* ]

ADDENDUM: My friend was not sad because no one wished him on his birthday but because nobody had bothered to even stand by him when he was going through a crisis in his life, in his career. Birthdays are for remembering, not wishing. What I wanted to get across (and I think didn’t do a good job of) is that every one knew it was his birthday but no one even used that excuse to ask how he was (he’d really had had a big blow which is a common knowledge among all of us)! If he cannot find support amongst friends where else can he? I reacted more because he is one who has been with any one of us whenever that person had needed a shoulder/support/whatever.

Okay, I’m a poor writer when trying to explain complex feelings! Won’t be attempting it in the recent future! (See I saved my own skin by saying the feelings are “complex”!!) 😛




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About Guria

An Artist in Science - I am a Misfit 'cause I choose to be one. "Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform" And I am a Maverick, because, I'm... umm... brilliant?
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15 Responses to Happy Birthday, my friend!

  1. hey sreya, it looks absolute sad to know that nobody wished him. Wishes from my side. Everybody have their own life to worry about and no one is bothered about others and its better not expect. And I also learnt this the hard way. Take Care

    Like

  2. Zeba says:

    Ohh wow. U mention 'expecting' in your latest post as well!! Nice blog.

    Like

  3. Aditya says:

    First of all a very happy birthday to your friend. Do convery my wishes to him. 🙂

    Personally i dont attach too much importance to who wished me on my birthday, i understand its quite a point to see who really is your friend/well wisher who remembers you. Can understand how your friends feels when he suddenly after his college feels he has no more friends left.

    Good that you have ben with him to cheer him up. Most relations these days are getting affected by Life :(. So lets not worry how life treats us…lets think .. how the hell can we treat life to the best 😀

    Cheers and well written 🙂

    Like

  4. rimz says:

    hmmm…very true…things go difrnt as we grow up…or as ppl start thinkin we hve grown up.
    it would always hve been betr n best if our nearest n dearest ones alwys stayed with us….
    n shared n cared…
    but at d end of the day
    expectations Do hurt..:(

    tkr cre.kip smiling n kip othrs smiling too..:)

    cn u plz turn off this wrd verification thing ,its really annoying at times…

    Like

  5. Maverick says:

    so very true!

    m nt a person who actually attaches importance to my b-day bt yeah….well i wish ppl coz it maks dem happy!

    bt dis does happen so often…relationships u sumhow begin to cherish just fade away…or rather disintegrate b4 ur eyes…nd though u cannot do nythng abt it…it hurts…real bad!

    'Alone' is an interesting concept…if one can stick to it…difficult bt had achievable if one can alienate oneself!

    m happy dat u cheered ur frnd up…always feels gud wen u mak sum1 feel betr! beats makin dem feel worse nytime! 🙂

    tc!

    Like

  6. Neha says:

    sreya, you are a nice girl…i would have simply disconnected the line after wishing that fella…c'mon ya, its ur birthday and u r sulking because nobody called u before this particular day…phew…

    Like

  7. I feel for your friend dear. I can fully relate to that feeling.

    Hmm.. what can I say.. I would never say we shouldn't make any friends at all.. but sometimes we shouldn't have high expectations..

    In this case for example, there may be many reasons involved.. simple forgetful nature (as in my case), chronic case of being lost (as in fresh graduates who always thought of only one thing and that didnt work out..) or a complex case of “I don't know what to do”..

    Life is becoming more and more mechanical..

    Friends are the first people we look up to in the face of a crisis – even before family in my case. There are many facets of my life that only my friends are aware of and my family knows nothing about.

    Pretty bad what happened with your friend. Please tell him not to give up hope and keep trying to get into PhD (if that is what he wants to do) It might help his broken heart if he just lets it all out and tells the “friends” involved that their actions or rather inaction, let him down.

    PS- did u get my mail?

    Like

  8. Shruti says:

    Yes! I can understand the problem!
    Cos we are facing the same prob..

    am out of coll now, jus 3 months before i finished colleg! All friends instantly stopped messaging except 3 or 4 who is my best pals!
    Its happening everywhere!
    The moment they finish college, they don't need friends and they start taking up their own lives!

    LIFE SUCKS AFTER COLLEGE!!!

    Asusual you wrote it really well!

    Like

  9. really true and to d point…

    i dunno y do ppl want 2 grow up so soon…and y growing up is such a big deal???

    I have friends who always show busy status on their chat…or always reply they r busy…oh God busy for what?? Frnds, family???

    Good thing u called him…wish him happy birthday from my end too…:D

    Like

  10. Hmmmm…..very sad…..

    i am happy that u wished him on his birthday……..

    Like

  11. Yogesh says:

    @Sreya..

    At the very first impression i was about to leave the blog seeing so much of writing..lols…

    but i chanced upon this post's last paragraph and i couldn't help myself but read the whole thing(s)..hope u don't mind my involvement here….u c i cannot resist myself…

    u have written really beautifully and with a plain simple heart….

    no matter how poor a writer you r u have done your job and it is upto God to see to it…

    *****
    @Ur Friend

    WISH U A VERY HAPPY B'DAY pal…
    may God give what u have always wished for…
    may He fill ur life with tons of happiness…

    *****
    @Rajalakshmi
    @Zeba
    @rimz
    @Rohini

    If we were to not expect and have high-expectations then we would have been God. We are humans bound by relations, no matter what….we aren't God…expecting is what we r made up of…isn't it..

    *****
    @Sid
    @All above

    Ya we do grow up and that too very fast..lols…ya i too have friends who show busy status but i never get a reply such as a busy one…its all how we keep things going on…and how we react to them…remember one thing…the most difficult task in this world is handling relationships…its not at all easy….and when we try too much to get involved the relationship is bound to be doomed….let it go on and all will come up automatically….

    *****
    @Shruti

    Life not only sucks after college but at every stage…after school, after college, even after marriage…things change and so do people…we need to understand this….isn't it?

    *****
    @Neha

    Its does effect oneself when all this happens…but it affects more on special occasion like b'day…disconnecting the line after wishing…would there be any difference left between Sreya and others…or would she have been able to write this lovely post….i would have disconnected the line only to reach to that person asap….

    So no matter what we say or write here, we all with the bottom of our hearts wish your friend a very happy b'day.

    tke cre
    b well…
    Yogesh Goel
    ygoel.com

    Like

  12. Guria says:

    @ Yogesh

    I would have taken time and replied to everyone but am doing it to you first.

    Thanks for your beautiful comment and understanding! 🙂

    I am indeed glad you didn't run away looking at how much I write! lol! I really write too much innit!! Well, i am so reticent that not talking to my friends have culminated into me writing paragraphs! 😀

    Thanks for following!! See ya' around! 🙂

    Like

  13. HaRy!! says:

    hmmm yes Happy Birthday from my end..but personally i have a reminder set for all my friends birthday, but then i never expect anything in return and in fact wud be glad if no one wishes me up, rather wud like a quite b'day …nice post..cya

    HaRy

    Like

  14. Hey a very nice article and soo true.. same here.. I had a similar bday this time.. from past 2 yrs, we used to have a bash and soon after the college was over, people forgot.. but I did not have it on orkut/facebook but how can people not remember someone's bday? atleast they would remember the month right? Is it so difficult to find out the date if you know the month? ofcourse, my office frnds made sure I had fun.. but I did feel bad for college frnds..

    Like

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