In my all recallable memory, this birthday would be the most unusual one. Here I am, not too far away from where I was born, but in a different country. Dubai, UAE. Not a truly exciting name for people (and a month ago I was like them) who have little knowledge of Middle East cultural diversity and openness.
Celebrating an International birthday raised its own peculiar issues. Family and near ones called up and the wishes were racing against the international call tariffs. Some friends reported online that they are finding my number unreachable. It was then that I told them of my journey across borders and hopefully abated their anger against my telecom service provider. A friend started conversing with me at 23:00 IST only to realize later that I am behind by 1:30 hrs. After hearing a couple of yawns from her, I accepted the wishes at 00:30 IST (23:00 local time for me) and requested her to go to sleep. I guess, my birthday would have be crossing over Afghanistan at that moment.
[ smiles :) ]
A significant change (or drop) in the number of wishes I would have accumulated came from a very simple and single act - I had removed my Birthday date from my Orkut profile almost a week ago. With all due credits to the hugely successful birthday reminder services out there, it proves beyond doubt that Orkut has become an indispensible tool for sustaining the friendships and medium of contact for lot of young people in India (and Brazil).
Disclaimer: The above conclusion is under the assumption that many 'friends' would have scrapped me birthday wishes had my Birthday reminder been visible on their homepages. As I am in a good mood, I will want to keep that assumption.
[ smiles :), again! ]
And the last candle on the cake (its my birthday and I don't want to use the phrase "last nail in the coffin") was that today is Sunday and many people generally stay away from online presence. This is however another revealing insight, if I have read it right. People go to work and prefer online socializing during office hours but do not indulge in it on weekends which should ideally be their "free time"! I am happy today. So my assumption is that many people were doing lot of fun outdoor activities this particular weekend and thus shunned online socializing for one day.
[ smiles :) ….duh!! ]
Now a brief round up of this so-uneventful-that-it-became-eventful day.
UAE has Friday and Saturday off. So while Sunday is off in India, it was a working day here. My birthday dress today was a white starched crisp shirt, formal trousers and a matching dark-grey chequered tie (no, not like the F1 flag). It couldn't have been more exciting.
[ smiles :)…. stop it now !@$#$%^!@].
The office has only 4 people staffed in it and all carry a copy of the key to main door. Summer Interns don't have that luxury. I reached early to office, all bright and shiny (remember the "white starched crisp shirt"?) But everybody else was on an 'extended weekend mood'. So, I was outside office, without key and without luck. Pantry area beckoned me and I waited there for an hour or so before one divine figure arrived. 'The gates of heaven' opened for me. The person had failed his driving test and was not exactly in what would comprise a jubilant mood. I preferred to steer clear from him (wish he had steered clear from his driving test obstacles). After staring at my empty inbox, non-descript scrapbook and un-ringing (both for SMS as well as calls) mobile phone for some time; I decided to read about how Nazis never lost the World War II and are hiding in secret bases in Antarctica. Wonder how they celebrate birthdays there?
[ :)… ok, have it your way!]
Gracefully, there was another Summer Intern from IIMK who kept me company during the day. He was receiving and making more phone calls than me. He had to go to Saudi Arabia and his travel plans and Visa were in disarray. He seemed to be having a more exciting time than me, at least in some sense. After lot of yawning and stretching, I made it evident to him that I am thoroughly bored and want to go out some place. With his Saudi dreams taking off from the Dubai airport tarmac, we visited a shopping mall to look at randomly beautiful European ladies. (the "randomly" adjective can go both with "beautiful" as well as "European"). We came across a multiplex and ended up watching "Shoot out at Lokhandwaala". Lots of blood, abuses, high-adrenalin action sequences, and pumping music - a perfect setting for a birthday evening.
[gotchya, you were going to smile :).. right? No?]
Now I am back in hotel room. The Dubai skyline is visible from the 5th floor wall-size windows. Its 00:20 AM, 28th May local time. Somewhere in Africa, it will still be 27th May. Happy B'day to me, with love, from Africa.
[smiles :).... genuinely]