I have always been one of those people who have no trouble remembering birthdays. Anytime a person I met on a regular basis told me their birthdate, my brain would automatically catalog and file away that information under the appropriate month and date. And on the correct day, my head would pop up a reminder and I would wish the person. Everyone loves having their birthday remembered and everyone loves the persons who remember it too :-). So I was in a lot of good books.
This happy status of affairs lasted for many, many years. Only two significant mishaps occurred. Once I forgot my mom's birthday (I still don't understand how I managed it and feel bad about it even now) and once I called up a close friend to wish her and when she said that it had been her birthday the previous day, I insisted that her birthday was on the day I called (I had such good faith in my in-built reminder system that I actually started asking her to verify her memory when it struck me that I might get killed by her if I argued further and shut up). But as I said, such stray incidents were very few and far in between.
Then last year, something strange started happening. I started missing birthdays and *gasp* forgot to wish people. Not just one or two birthdays but quite a few of them. Oh, it was not that I forgot any birthday completely. It was just that I would remember it a couple of days earlier or later. It was as though my reminder system had a sudden software malfunction. The good part was that though I had lapsed quite a few times, I had still managed to remember birthdays of most people "close" to me and wish them on time. So I was still okay.
Then the inevitable happened. One fine day, my friend A mailed me asking me to pacify our common friend J on her behalf. I was like "why"? A said that she had forgotten to wish J on her birthday and added rather frostily that I might have reminded her. That was when I went "Oh dear God! I forgot completely"! A chortled with glee when she realized that I had not wished J either (misery loves company) - going by my previous record she had just assumed that I would have wished J!
Now, J is a very dear friend and she is one person who takes the effort to *always* wish her friends on their birthdays. I felt extremely annoyed with myself and finally gave up on my no-longer-reliable in-built birthday reminder system. I remembered that someone had once told me about the birthdayalarm website where you registered birthdays and from where you would get reminders. I promptly signed up on the same day.
Since then its been smooth sailing again. I always remember birthdays (thanks to the reminders from birthdayalarm) and am now making up for all the badnaami of the previous year. I was back to feeling contented with my reminder system - till today.
As I was driving back from my fitness class, it suddenly struck me that I had received the second birthdayalarm reminder for my good friend V's birthday which falls tomorrow - April 12th. It's only April 11th today, but given my treacherous memory, I decided that I would just call him up in advance and wish him (V's in the mid-west and it probably was around 11pm for him then). The conversation between us went like this:
V (in sleepy voice): Hello.
Me (feeling bad about waking V up but thinking that its his b'day eve - he ought to be awake): Oh, were you asleep?
V: No, no - was just going to bed. What's up?
Me: Happy Birthday! I know its early and all but still, I am the first - hahaha!
V: No its too early. You see my bday...
Me (not paying attention): Yeah, yeah, I know - its an hour early - but still, I am first!
V: Yeah, you are the first alright. My bday is on the 17th.
Me (still not paying full attention): Haha, I knew I was the first. (realization dawning) WHAT? Did you say your birthday was on the 17th? Darn, darn, darn!
Me (feeling extremely foolish): Heh heh!
V: How do you manage to do this every time? (last year I wished him a day after his actual birthday)
Me: Just to be sure, your birthday is still going to be on the 17th next year also right?
V (duh): Well, I hope so!
Me: That's good! I just thought I would confirm. (duh - that question needs to go into the dumb questions hall of fame!)
And so the rest of the conversation continued with V having another hearty laugh and me apologizing. I finally hung up with the promise to call V up again on his real birthday. So much for my birthday alarm system! Looks like I overlooked the one basic fact while setting up my alarm system viz. the birthdays need to be the correct dates to start with. Sigh :-(!
Now, for some reason I have this vague feeling that April 12th is actually someone else's birthday and I have managed to mess around the dates badly and am going to wind up not wishing someone else again. I am hoping for my memory to come back with some result by tomorrow night at the latest!