So what do you do when you are tossed a knife and told ‘hack it’. Well, I played the hacker to perfection because the scene was purportedly staged in my honour. This after I had pleaded not to be ordered to the front line.
Indeed, it was a battle for me. It consumed some decent nerves to subside that ugly feeling that brewed up within. And a dozen more to hold that ‘gratitude’ smile measuredly on my lips until the antiphony (ostentatiously termed ceremony) was over.
My workplace mates ‘celebrated’ my birthday! An event that was adhoc, succinct and formally informal.
A five-minute break was announced. People ushered into the conference room, box of cake opened, plates placed and my name called. I made a cut. Did I hear a birthday song amid the cacophony of bitly exchanges of gossipy juices? Allow me to give colleagues the benefit of doubt. Heads counted, pieces sliced and passed around. As they got, so they turned back akin to dolphins after an act.
Did anyone wish the birthday girl? I was holding the knife so how could anyone have shaken my hand? I am responsible.
“You took the date off Facebook!” “You never told you were next.” Accusations followed as I made my way to the desk.
“Last week’s cake was real wow, man!” “Yeah, I loved that.” “This is fresh.” “Any one for this piece of orange”… I overheard as I made an attempt to etch the event so I could recall it to my two loved ones back home in the evening.
One of them tagged the pictures taken on my Facebook, and that served a reminder for my ‘friends’. Within minutes ‘Likes’ were clicked and ‘Wishes’ poured beneath my face.
The following day, other late-wakers followed… “a day late…happy birthday…even if u keep quiet u can’t hide the fact that u r getting old:-) [I learnt another socially-accepted girly reason to explain why I don’t like announcing my birth date]
“Hey, it’s your birthday. Many happy returns”, wrote another. A couple even called. “Just saw on FB, so how was your day?”
Two days later, another friend wrote, “Oops missed your birthday. but I guess its never late to wish, so belated happy birthday.” Would he have remembered the date had my picture with a cake beneath my nose not popped up on his page?
So I stopped myself short of following Facebook protocol. I did not acknowledge ‘friends’ wishes.
Well, this should help you decide. Every June 10th morning when I open my mailbox, I see my classmate turned dear friend Jyothi’s birthday wishes. The last we saw each was in 1999. Long 13 years and not once has she missed wishing me!
When I say the day is strictly personal for me, it is my time to be spent with my loved ones, in a manner that pleases them and only them; It is one day that I love to reminiscence the wonderful people who care about me. Those who do not need to be reminded I exist on the surface of this earth. Those who couldn’t care if they got a slice of cake without a fruit piece on it. Those who will include me in their prayers without me asking them to do so and who will skip a heartbeat if I didn’t pick up their call on the third ring.
So even as I thank all those who took efforts in having the cake-cutting ceremony organised, I would not willingly endorse it – an HR populist measure!