Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Birthdays THEN and Birthdays NOW

Seems like only yesterday
Life was just a sunny day
And we never had to worry
About a thing

Running Free, Stillwater

Every period in history has a defined pre and post period. Say for instance, the pre-Mughal
era and the post-Mughal era; pre and post British named after the ruling entity. Sometimes
the charisma of a person is so strong, that there are eras like pre and post Hitler, pre and
post M.K.Gandhi (for a Congress party worker, every Gandhi is entitled to this honour) etc

In a similar vien, birthdays, i.e. only with respect to the way our acquaintances come to
realise that a particular day is our birthday, and how we are wished can be classified into
the pre and post Orkut era. ( again, this is unique considering that Orkut is at a time a
person, an entity and a phenomenon)!!!

The pre-Orkut era:

This era can be sub-divided into (from my personal experience) three phases:

1. The school phase: Covering the 12 years I spent from LKG to 10th standard at VVS Gandhi
Centenary School and VVS Sardar Patel High School.
2. The pre-university phase: Covering the 2 years I spent at MES College of Arts, Commerce
and Science
3. The university phase: Covering the 4 years I spent at KREC (prefer this name over NIT)

The post-orkut era:

1. The post-grad phase: Covering the 2 years spent at IIT Delhi
2. The worker-bee phase: ongoing, just celebrated a birthday in this phase

School Phase: This was a time when the onus for informing others about your birthday was
upon us. The code for declaring a birthday was to come attired in the so called 'colour
dress' (as if the uniform was colourless), the school slang for informals. The birthday
boy/girl was expected to bring along chocolates for the entire class and the teachers and of
course there were the extra chocolates for 'best' friends. The birthday chap was made to
stand in front of the class and there used to be a rendition of the Happy Birthday song
followed by distribution of chocolates.

Pre-university phase: This was a slightly sobered down period with the impending tensions of the public and entrance exams weighing down on people's minds. More or less it involved a
small treat for select friends.

University phase: Life at KREC meant that the birthday had to be told only once, and someone or the other would make sure that they remembered it for the next four years.In my case, the man with the memory was Adi the God or simply, Devru.Celebrations were awesome. GPLs (Birthday bumps) followed by the mandatory visit to the night canteen were the order of the day.

Orkut brought in a new facet of birthday wishes. Everyone who was on orkut could see your
birthday and more often than not, they didn't forget to wish you because your picture would
stare them right in the face. The time for compulsory wishing had arrived, a far cry from
the old days, when it was OK to forget wishing someone.

So came the post grad birthday celebrations which were muted due to Mother Nature lowering
her temperature to a 'kewl' single digit. A few select pals in the hostel got a treat at
Nescafe and the others had to rest content wishing me on orkut or over the phone.

The worker bee phase as of now has recorded a huge spurt in Orkut wishing. So many scraps,
they outnumbered the mails, phone calls and perosnal wishes by a ratio of almost 20:1.

At the end of the process, its imperative that anyone would feel happy, but being
'overwhelmingly happy' by seeing the huge number of scraps is something that i would anyday
swap with shaking hands, getting my arse kicked, going out in the biting cold or standing in
front of my peers dressed radically different from all of them.... I know, "grass is always
green on the other side".


Srivishnu Mohan said...

Although the fact about saving your arse is agreeable but the fact that you prefer wishes from a overwhelming crowd (of which I too am a part of) over orkut to a few hand shakes from close friends is what puzzles me...
anyway hope you had a great birthday and awaiting to see whether I too get a similiar response on my birthday....

Rohan said...

I hate people compulsorily wishing me through Orkut. However, orkut has surely helped me find out birthdays of a few college mates (I am too lazy to open up Smriti and scan)

Oh, and btw, Happy Birthday!