The missus, dear reader, celebrated her birthday recently.
I’ll pass on your good wishes to her, and I thank you for them. But today’s column is about an aspect of birthday celebrations in the twenty-first century that is not on the happy side of things. It leaves me befuddled, irritated and nostalgic for the good old days, when Whatsapp wasn’t around.
Why, I ask you, must everybody wish the person in the group whose birthday it is?
Not, I hasten to add, that I am against the notion of wishing people happy birthday. It is an old, pleasing practice, giving much joy and spreading much warmth, and it should continue far into the distant future. No arguments.
But, and here’s the part that puzzles me, why on earth must this be done in the group itself? Why not send a personal, one to one message?
I’m sure you’ve been in the position that I find myself in every single day, Bright and early, before the rooster has announced the dawn of a new day, your phone will start beeping and vibrating. About half of those beeps and vibrations are good morning messages (of course. More about this magnificent idiocy on a later day) and the other half are everybody wishing somebody happy birthday.
But here’s the thing – when on a group of say, twenty people, nineteen people wish that one person happy birthday, each of those nineteen phones beep and vibrate every time a message is sent.
That, I’d argue, is a lot of beeping and vibrating. And this is before the person whose birthday it is gets around to saying thank you, and we’re in for a frush spurt of b’s and v’s.
Given the fact that each person on the group will have a birthday and potentially an anniversary, and given that the average, hapless Indian (such as the undersigned, for example) is a member of at least a dozen different Whatsapp groups, I am convinced that my phone’s batteries die out because of birthday wishes alone. And I’m not the recipient or donor of the vast majority of these wishes!
We’re just collateral damage in the Great Daily Tsunami of birthday messages that just will not stop.
Combine these with the aforementioned anniversaries and good morning messages, and it is a wonder I get anything at all done in the day.
So, in the interest of my sanity and yours, here’s a proposal. Let one person on each group kick off the birthday wish tsunami, to signal to everybody else that it is time to send across a birthday greetings.
Then, if so inclined, everybody can send in messages on a one to one basis alone, and finally, on the morrow, the person whose birthday it is can reply on the group, thanking everybody all at once.
Lesser beeps, lesser vibrations, lesser messages and a longer battery life. I honestly fail to see the downside to this most excellent idea.
Now, if you’ll excuse me. The phone’s just beeped, and I need to check my alerts.
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime