Today is my brother’s birthday. I have wished him on FB, before his ‘waking up’ time and sent him a text message. I will get around to calling him at some point! There were already many greetings posted on his FB page and through the day, there will be many more – many of these will be part of the chain reaction and be from people who may have not otherwise remembered or greeted him. I am sure there will be many SMS messages too!
How the times have changed! In our childhood, birthdays were sometimes marked by the visit of the family pandit to do the “Ayush homam” – done to worship the god of life, Ayur Devatha, and for long life and removal of all obstacles from life. Even this was not often, and the most consistent feature was my mother’s lovely payasam. I don’t remember my parents saying “Happy Birthday” to me till I was well into my teens. A few close friends who knew, greeted you with “Happy birthday” – but it was a day like any other and no fuss was made around it. Of course, my brother is 8 years younger and things had changed considerably in his school days. But, I don’t think ‘birthday party’ was in the lexicon of my parents’ life.
Since telephones were a rare and expensive luxury, the other high point of a birthday was the ‘birthday card’! This came from close relatives, maybe a mama/mami or periappa/chittappa or sometimes from an older cousin who would have had to persuade their parents to go and buy a card. I, myself, don’t ever remember sending birthday cards till I was in college. But, if you did get one, it was something to tell everyone about and if it came with a foreign stamp, your status was that much higher.
It is a futile exercise to try and share the joys of receiving hand written letters, or birthday and New Year cards with the current generation as they cannot even imagine such an era. And your reminiscences, firmly dates you and put you on the back shelf!! So, I too have tried to move with the times (do we have a choice?) and have greeted him on FB and by SMS and by phone – and did not send a card!
So, once again, Happy birthday, brother.