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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Birthday Blues

Watching a movie in a cinema-house in Calcutta with a bunch of cousins, the day I turned 4, I recall that when Gandhiji's picture appeared on the screen on a slide before the film, with a hideously painted garland on the photograph, everyone stood up and clapped. I asked my mother why this was happening and was informed that it was Bapu's birthday, too. Puzzled - as my friends have been repeatedly told over the years by elders who seem to revel in such embarrassing anecdotes - I am alleged to have said, "Maeñ to itnaa chhota rah gaya aur Gandhi Chacha buddhay ho gae ..."
I admit that I still feel a childish thrill, knowing that my birthday is a national holiday in India. And don't ask me where the chacha came from ... but it's immensely better than the "Unkil" I have become, to people whose aunts I have never had anything to do with, I swear!
This year, on October 2nd, I became 66 ... The unexciting number countered by celebrations lasting much longer than usual, beginning with Vickram and Jehan Ara landing up with a huge cake on the evening of the 1st (because they were both flying out the next day) ... and ending with a really gorgeous dinner, on the 2nd, put together by Mahenaz and Sabeen, who has now been promoted from COO to COO[K]. While I am dreading my birthday three years from now when I know that all my male friends will send me pornographic birthday cards - underscoring the age old old age problems associated with being on the verge of 70 - I must admit that I wasn't expecting some of the stuff I did get this year.
In the name of what is now called CRM, a bank sent me a box of chocolates. As a diabetic, if I do have to break my parhaiz, I do it for something worth the trouble. This stuff was from a shop that probably specializes in dog biscuits ... for dogs with no pedigree. I remember getting these home (from a restaurant that offers them gratis, after meals) for Lady, our late Dachsund who adored chocolates, and seeing her spit it out after the first bite. Of course, the banks have your DoB from the various forms you fill in. Given that their obnoxious telemarketing campaigners call you up at really odd hours on the most relaxed of days when you are asleep for the first time in weeks after a hectic project, it is unlikely that they'd even understand my annoyance at getting a gift! The fact is that I do not accept sweets from strangers.
However, here's something I'd like to warn all bloggers about: Please do not fill birthdates on your Profile, unless a blogging tool allows you to omit the Year. The more popular ones insist upon it, not accepting just the month and date. [Blogger/WordPress: Are you listening?]
Tricky thingies, known as spiders, crawl around the web, gathering all this info and passing it on - for greenbacks - to all and sundry. Once they know your age, the wonders of modern-day computing allow merchants to spam you with loads of 'targeted' email they consider 'suitable'. Thus, I received 32 wanting me to try Viagra, Cialis, etc.; 11 trying to sell me contraptions that would make my love life more 'interesting' - a word that, in this context, could mean almost anything! 2 were rather rude and commented upon my physical attributes, suggesting ways to 'enhance' them (although I do not recall providing info on that to anyone ... unless the spiders also visit sites of really close friends and use AI to make connections).
However, dear Bloggers, if you do want to enter your birthdate in your profile (in the hope of winning some strange lottery or something), make sure you enter your Gender, too. Unfortunately, I had not disclosed mine. Mere oversight, I promise you. I know what I am ... and if I ever forget, my eyesight is still OK! As a result, I received this message: Men will whistle at you. Even at this age your breasts can regain their natural firmness, in Rs. 990 only, through Ayurvedic Joban Paste. [Update: Save your money. It doesn't work! Z]

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Blogger the olive ream said...

66 years young! A very happy belated birthday ZAK. You're only as young as you feel OR as young as the person you feel up...

My best wishes to you. May the coming year(s) bring you happiness, contentment and large amounts of cash in unmarked bills..

11 October, 2006 23:20

Anonymous Vickram said...

Hoppy Beardy once again!

Next time I'll try getting you the dog biscuits.

12 October, 2006 01:06

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Thanx Vic. I think I'll use that for my passport when I go for my pilgrimage to Cupertino next.

12 October, 2006 02:18

Anonymous Ragni said...

You're hilarious as ever! I read your post out to anyone who'd listen.

12 October, 2006 02:55

Anonymous Vickram said...

@ragni: You could find someone who'd listen? You must be getting old, lassie.

12 October, 2006 08:37

Blogger sam said...

Well Happy Birthday Lucy! I'd just read your email on your daai with questionable taste in men.
Don't worry about the emails. For some odd reason, the creepy crawlies on the web seem to think that I am a 60 something man as well in need of all the solutions they threw at you ...

12 October, 2006 09:03

Anonymous GHazala said...

A very happy, though much belated Happy Birthday, knowing the fabulous cooking of Beanz and Mimi, no wonder they decided to cook for you, if only agni was here the family would have been complete to celebrate your 26th bash. I for one refuse to believe you'e a day older, given the sprightliness of your ideas and mind and the sheer amount of work you put in. Methinks that is the real secret of your fountain of youth, :-) though the exquisite coffee may also have something to do with it.
Many happy returns from the Aziz's once again, with many more to come.

12 October, 2006 14:33

Anonymous ayesha said...

Happy Birthday! And may you have many more, just quite as eventful!

and the spamming bit you put in drew a few smiles and grins. hehe.

12 October, 2006 20:17

Anonymous hira said...

happy belated birthday abi. reading your post proved to be the ultimate break in between trying to finish a paper half an hour before the deadline =)
much love.

13 October, 2006 01:38

Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

You're some four years older than my Pa!

Here's wishing you a long, happy and healthy life ahead and many, many years of blogging!!

I laughed out aloud for a long time, while reading this post.

I wonder if Gandhi baba had just as rocking a sense of humour.


15 May, 2007 02:47


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