Wednesday, September 29, 2010


my birthday today (well yesterday, but the post was supposed to be written before 12) and i ran an experiment..
i always used to think that anyone who knows and cares about me would remember my birthday, and would care enough to wish. I also used to think that birthday calendars, and stuff like FB birthdays made it so easy to wish someone, that the value of that wish went down completely. 
well so i did an experiment, the idea came last year, and what i did was i made my birthday on FB visible. and i made it explicitly visible, made sure my status referred to it. 
in addition this time i would remind people samne se about my birthday, met 1260 online, told her, went to the coffee shop, told uncle and so on. 
what i wanted to see is that if to me it feels worthless, all the wishes that is, whether i feel sad, or whether i have instead a good birthday. 
and guess what, got about 120 odd wishes on FB, some from people i have never spoken too, but know by name or face, a few by people who i don't know how got into my friends list or why, i don't know them. So point 2 is proved, FB does make it so easy to wish that you wish everyone. But then just about 1/5 of my friends list wished me so not all were same. 
what did happen was i got a lot of calls, and most of them surprised me. friends i haven't spoken to in 3 years, sisters from phirang was quiet amazing. 
what also happened as a result was everyone knew, my work folks knew and so i was wished and there was a cake, and there was not 'ankur we forgot your birthday day and cutting cake next day'.
so results...well it was a good birthday, i was quiet cheerful. Got in touch with a hundred people, and it gave some a bahana to get in touch with me. Came to know that some people really care, and frankly, a lot of people apart from me had a lot of fun, no one was left feeling bad because of guilt (yea i know, i know, but you do feel a bit guilty if you forget someone close's birthday)
learnings...i try living a life of zero expectations, but then getting to that stage is difficult and time consuming...which means that you do expect a little bit, and if you do, you are bound to be hurt. But this time what i did was i expected, and i helped fulfill my own expectation. I was practical about it, people forget birthdays, let me make it easy for them to remember. 
More than anything, i made my birthday, i made sure that i did everything so that my small expectations get met. I also ensured that people don't feel guilty. 
as for as knowing who really calls, there is these three classes of people, friends whatever...those who don't care and still wish, you always get to know...but then thats a zero sum game, how does it matter?
those who care, you kind of know they would have called, and if they didn't, you know its because they forgot, and so just go ahead and remind them, spare them the guilt and you the 'not meeting expectations, and save a relationship. 
I have met so many people around who like secrecy, my problems are for me. apni achievements batao, failures nahi. Khushi batao, dukh nahi!!! Reasons being, people don't want  to feel in control of information, want to ensure that others think of how they want them to think about them. well i think its fututile...i just creates complications, and life is anyways to complicated for us to be creating more. I share everything, my failures, my sadness and my achievements. and mostly with anyone, give frank answers, people who care, who are decent enough hear me out or even help me. People who are not, well atleast they can't spread a rumor, or make fun out of it, simply because i was very upfront about it. and who cares!!!
and sometimes something new happens, something which you will remember throughout...i went to my coffee shop, saw uncle, and blurted out, 'uncle mera janamdin hai' and i was expecting him wishing, but no he says 'mera bhi'. I am like wat?? and he says 'ha, 28th sept, its my birthday but i never celebrate'. i for a moment was shocked and then touched. asked him to wear new clothes in the evening, and i got a small cake, and we shared it. was an experience, i promised we'll celebrate together every year that i am in was such an experience, something i will remember this birthday for. 
bottom-line. i have realized this, you need to be happy for you to be happy, you need to make things easier for others to enable them to meet your expectations. 
yea i know a lot about my birthday, then am you know i am self obsessed wat you complaining about??

PS: the title T-1, well T is for 30 in this case. A friend wished me like that yesterday. my mum scolded me for revealing my age, but then whats the big deal, how do years matter. I feel very young, was telling someone feel like am in college really, how does it matter that i am almost 30. well actually telling people that i am 29 gets me respect by default. so i use that a lot when required. :-)
and yea there is one thing that does get affected, i can't enroll for my dream mountaineering course once i get beyond 30. :-(

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


day before i visited an old grandfather of mine, 95, almost bedridden and not very senile...i have been seeing him for years now, slowly degrading, lost his hearing many years ago and used hearing aid, and when his wife was alive and very chirpy, when asked how they had survived 75 years of marriage, he used to joke that he would just turn off the hearing aid as soon as she started speaking.
Yesterday he was very different, his son said that for the last week he has been very different, suddenly he has given up the want to live, he now wants to go away was how he put it. I sat next to him for about 15 mins, frail and wrinkly, he spoke to me in pauses, his eyes glazing over from time to time as he recounted his life. he told me about his sons, how they were settled, his wife who had given him everything, and his history of health problems. after every small story he would end it with 'he is now settled and happy' or 'he has this and that' or something like that. basically ending with a happy ending in which 'he'  has an asset built up.
assets, those things you toil for all you life, those things which are permanent, long term, which are the fruition of all your hard word, and which you showcase at the end. A house, a business empire, a car, a bank balance, well settled kids, grandkids, even a happy marriage maybe,  these are the things that you recount on  our death bed, the things that you you have to show for a life well lived....
but then, imagine that life...where you toiled for 22 years to pay off that housing loan, or you lived a compromise of a marriage so that you kid could group up well, what use is all that once you are gone.  you are not going to enjoy it, someone else is, but you spent you life building it. you never enjoyed ur life because at the end you wanted those assets...
instead if you had all those small things in life, a lot of small happinesses, a cycle you wanted, a bike you wanted, traveled the world, have the best gadgets always, party whenever you wanted...if you had all the small things which on a daily basis gave you happiness, why wouldn't you choose that over that one home??
its the classic question of what is important to you, the journey or the destination? the journey lasts a lifetime, the destination an hour maybe?
i know i am wrong, i don't know why. any comments explaining why are welcome!!!
take care