JournalismPakistan.com August 18, 2017
So I call my relative who is a retired general and I begin to sing ‘eppybirddaytoyoo’ in that falsetto tone we all use to denote unbridled joy and warmth and he says, not you too, please stop right this instance, don’t even think of continuing…
Hey, I say, why the grumpy mood?
You’d be grumpy too, he says, if you were 79 and the whole day was spent fielding calls and messages and stupid ‘guess who’s’ from horribly cheerful people. One well-wisher gave me three guesses, they say pointless things like it’s your birthday, I know it’s my birthday, you don’t have to remind me.
Now he is really on a roll. The Whatsapp started its cheeping at 5:00 am and woke me up, he says, then the phone started ringing incessantly, now I have an SMS from a PC Gulati wishing me and I don’t know any PC Gulati, I don’t want to know one either and I don’t understand why people cannot mind their own business, why do they have to interfere in mine?
Cheer up, I say, it just shows how popular you are.
Ha, then where are they the rest of the year and it doesn’t stop here, they aren’t happy filling in Facebook and LinkedIn and all that stuff, they drop in to wish me personally and I have had to entertain them and I didn’t even get my afternoon nap and now there’s you wanting a party, why should I give you a party, do you know what it costs, at my age you should give me a party, a whole horde of them trotting in and messing up the day and my place, no thank you very much.
His misery is further compounded by the silly questions people ask. It is your birthday, isn’t it? Well if you have to ask why the heck are you calling?
Silly jokes, like you are as young as you feel (misplaced profundity).
Patently false statements: you look so young for your age (yes but I don’t feel it, please go away).
The curiosity that’s bad manners: So, what did you get for your birthday? (Why should I tell you, give me one good reason why what the family gave me should be public knowledge).
Then the sledgehammer: Wow, it’s your big 80 next year, what’s the plan? (Incandescent brilliance, you figured it out by yourself).
And you know the worst of it, he moans; now I have to thank everyone and be gracious and do you realize how exhausting that is?
Don’t forget P.C. Gulati, I say, otherwise he won’t wish you next year.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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