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On making a birthday memorable

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The other day the newspaper carried an article which showed three young guys from the city who had developed a Facebook application for wishing your friends on their birthdays. It wasn't an application that merely reminds you when a birthday is upcoming (I have no grouses against that) but this was an application which would do the actual wishing for you at midnight, while you slept or watched a movie or had sex or do whatever you do at midnight. It could personalise the wish as much as you wanted ( or as little as you wanted) and it would post a message on your friend's wall at midnight as though you had written it yourself , and your friend would be no wiser. You merely had to enter all the dates of your friends birthdays one time. The article said that this way, you would never have to keep track of any birthdays or take the actual effort to wish a friend or even  forget to wish a friend and your friend would be happy and moved that you  really took the trouble to wish him/her at midnight.

How much more superficial can one get?

To me, birthdays are only as important as the people who have them. If the person mattered to me a lot, I would surely make an effort to make that day extra special for that person. To me, it is all about making an effort, not merely wishing for the sake of wishing. I would surely value a phone call or a visit much more than a mere posting on the wall which seems to have become perfunctory. And I would value a hand written card more than an electronic one for sure. On one of my birthdays, a  good friend took the trouble to have a cake and a teddy bear and flowers delivered to me. It was a complete surprise and I was delighted. On my  last birthday  (when I was visiting India from the UK, in December) I was over the moon, when one of my closest friends flew down from a different city, to be with me. Another of my closest friends had taken the trouble to order a delicious chocolate cake weeks in advance (it is very hard to get a booking for a cake from that particular place) and also the care and thought that went into the gift she had chosen for me, moved me and made me feel on top of the world.

Yesterday happened to be her birthday and I decided to surprise her. I turned up outside her door (I had to change two city buses to get to her place as I am stranded without a vehicle at the moment) with a large bouquet of flowers and a nice gift (which I know she will love). Then I called her number and wished her from right outside her door. She had no clue where I was calling from. Then I told her that I think I heard a knock and that there was someone outside her door and asked her to open her door. She wondered how I could hear a knock though the phone when she couldn't :-)  I insisted that she open the door. When she saw me standing there grinning like an idiot from ear to ear, she was so stunned that she could not react for a few seconds. :) Then  she screamed and we both burst out laughing and hugged each other.  She said " Hey. I never expected this. You really made my day."
We then ordered a Chinese takeaway and spent the rest of the day talking and laughing. She later texted saying it was one of the best birthdays she has had.

To me, that is how a close friend ought to be wished on a birthday and a birthday ought to be celebrated.
Not  for me, an automated application that wishes them for you.


  1. I like birthday reminder applications but the one you have written about is simply not done. I would never use it. Talking about surprising people, I surprised a friend of mine few months back turning up outside her office with a large lily bouquet and a small gift :)

  2. I am sure your friend would have had the bestest birthday ever!!! Nice of her to have a sweet friend like you!

  3. What a timely're amazing :) birthday (and your dad's) is tomorrow :)....I will be with mum n dad after 11 years, and it's my first with my daughter....its meant to be special :D.....

  4. The application sounds horrendous :( Great way to surprise your friend!

  5. Hi Preeti
    I so agree.... and i had even blogged abt the same (my bday being special bcos of the wishes of family and friends) then this fb application is completely no-no
    however, maybe for professional acquaintances or distance relatives maybe a good option to remind u of the special dates in their lives... this is definitely not for close family and friends

  6. This is so serendipitous!
    It's my closest friend's birthday today :)
    and I do intend to make it special :)
    So while deciding on a gift and everything I was thinking on the same lines: a birthday is as important as the person to me too!

    On a totally different note, I'm gonna be in your home state on your birthday this year and I'll celebrate FULL ON! haha :D

  7. absolutely right. Automated messages lack warmth.

  8. That's a very sweet thing you did and I'm sure your friend would have enjoyed every bit of it...

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  10. hmm.. since long time i have kept track of birthdays for all relatives of mine and friends through google calender, which would alert me 2 weeks in advance and then 2 days in advance of the event.. that is some thing i think is acceptable.. automated wishing is something a complete No No.. after 3- 4 years of using this system.. recently realised that i had not put down my best friends birthday in that list (i have put my own in that list) and never missed...

    bottom line is .. if one really want to wish/remember.. no such reminders are required!

  11. What you did was really thoughtful and I am sure your friend would have loved it!

  12. awwwwwwww -- I dont even need an application to remind me of birthdays..memory stands good and I know almost all frnds birth day dates and if they are really very close it will always be a personalized gift for them. I dont understand how ppl cannot remember thier friends birthdays.. u remember ur parents and ur bdays then what different is a friend? I say this because I do remember without any application, do ppl really need reminders?.
    Anyway--your friend must have really had a gr8 day. Lucky you both :)

  13. birthdays are so special... I always make it a point to make it even more special for my bestest of friends... the happiness and surprise in their voice in unbeatable :D
    that was such a sweet gesture from you... friendship like this is rare these days

  14. why would one need a calendar to remind or need an application to wish a b'day of loved ones... a true wish comes from one's heart... nd that type of sweet surprise from you is very rare....

  15. That was a really lovely thing to do. Very very nice.

  16. lucky is i your friend to have a friend like you:-)

  17. sweeeetest wish that one :D
    About those automated msgs, imagine if that friend posted back on ur wall saying, "thanks for the wishes", n u reply back "what wishes??" :P that would be wicked funny ;)

  18. Awwww Preeti such a lovely thing to do......on 2nd thoughts I'm not surprised at all:-))

  19. Thats a sweet gesture!

  20. So true! Birthdays are special days and what's the point of wishing if you use an automated application for it.

  21. Thinker: I agree!

    Raam pyari: She is one of my closest friends :)

    Reflections: When ARE you coming back to blogging? I demand you come back. NOW.

    Shru: :D Stupid application :)

    Freshonpixel: i am lucky too :)

    Ramesh: Thank you! We must meet up.

    Amit: I agree about not needing a calendar to remember closest ones special days. Thanks :)

    Rajlakshmi: Same pinch :)

  22. Seema; But everyone does not attach same importance to birthday that you and I do. Even some of my closest friends dont attach same importance. But I always remember and hence wish :)

    Mihir: i completely agree with you.

    Caterpillar: I also enjoyed. :)

    Asha: Even if they have warmth it is the mere thoughtlessness of it all that irks me!

    Sucheta: invite me for the party :P :D will txt you my number :) I wished your friend on twitter :)

    Ruj: I agree..but even for acquaintances I will not wish them unless i mean it. I am old fashioned that way :) I never do a half hearted thing.

    Palsworld: yeah--horrendous is the right word :) Thanks :)

    Shachi: hope you had a super fantastic b'day. Glad you're with your loved ones. Extra special b'day as it is your first with your child :)

    Gopikaa: I am also lucky to have a friend like her :)

    Varun: Nice gesture! :) Bet she loved it :)

  23. hey datz so nice...bdayz are indeed special occasionz..n we r ought 2 make dem special...wenz ur bday??if u cnt declare it here..mail me...~:-)mine is on 25th jan!jus a day b4 independance day...

  24. Hi Preeti, I had been away from here so long, it feels so good to comeback and read your blog. You are right, the warmth and love of a personal wish is absolutely different from an automated one. I really loved what you did for your friend. It shows once again your warmth as a friend. take care, and now lemme go and read the rest of your posts.


  25. -;D...ooops I mean ;-D

  26. Simple and lovely post. Yes, I completely agree. A forwarded SMS wish or e-mail or wall post means very little. The strength of the link is more important.

  27. Indeed its special.. Hope ur struggle going there made her day :) :)
    Planning to wish ma frnd like this once :) :)

  28. Indeed its special when you wish them personally...For me some one cared to remember(doesn't matter how they remember) and took efforts to wish me itself makes it very special and if someone does give me a surprise like you did for your friend then I will die of excitement hehe

    The automated wishing application is a big no no for me...waste of time...


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