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It will be Riya's 39th Birthday tomorrow. Birthday’s are special and Riya being a passionate individual always looked forward for this day eagerly.
It was 8 o' clock at night and she was in the hotel room. She was not with her family this year as had to fly for a business trip to Bangalore. She missed her kids and husband Yash who were her world. She sat quietly on the rocking chair got into the world of deep thoughts and was just reminded of her 23rd birthday.
How special it was, she was in the hostel of Pune. The evening before all her friends teased her for whose calls she was expecting first, everyone wanted to know the name of her boy friend. They all sat in the hostel’s cafeteria where food was not very lucrative for any one of them and they all tried to find options and planned for a party. "Let’s eat at Baba Chinese lorry - सस्ता पड़ेगा " . Then someone said "Riya किसी अच्छे hotel me party करते है yar please". Riya was excited. चलो ठीक है... she said proudly she had a job now. Finally it was 11:55 pm she was just not able to sleep she knew her friends would come to celebrate her birthday in her hostel room and yes there was a knock on the door. “Happy Birthday" all her friends yelled... Riya felt so happy. They lighted the candle; cut the cake sang happy birthday and then the regular trend of putting the cake on the face... ohh my god so much fun. She showed all her friends greeting cards which her distant family members had sent her for her birthday.
And then it was 12:01am her mobile rang... it was Nokia 3011 with the loudest polyphonic tune..."Kaho na Pyar hai…kaho na pyar hai…". All her friends yelled again "Ohhhhooooo- आ गया ". Every one gave a mischievous smile. Yes she was expecting this call. She was elated with joy .Her phone wouldn't stop ringing after this first call. She was constantly over mobile accepting wishes from her friends and family. She wasn’t sure when she fell asleep and what time she had the last call. The phone again started ringing it was 6:00 AM her mom and dad called her to wish for her birthday .Thanks Ma... "आज तो ठीक से खा लेना कम से कम " her mom said in a worried voice. हाँ हाँ चलो... मुझे back end me बोहत phone आ रहे है. Bye maa...Riya dint want to miss even a single phone call.
She was all excited she reached office around 9:00 am. She sat down and her Phone rang again,it was her cousin from US- Thanks भैया .Her colleague asked "Is it your birthday today? She probably guessed it with too many phone calls and the conversations. "Yes" Said Riya. All her team members wished her. At the end of the day she had a great party with her hostel friends. What a great day it was!!!
Riya was all in her thoughts when her phone rang. It was call from her home "Mumma it’s your birthday tomorrow" Riya's younger son said in his naive voice. Yes- she said with a smile. “Mumma what presents do you want?” We are planning for a nice party for you. Thank you chonu monu. She pretended to kiss them over the phone. Did you guys brush your teeth it’s time for bed. "Good Night Mumma- bye" Both her sons said. She said Good night to Yash (her husband) as he had to put the kids to bed.
Riya was now a project manager in her office. She had a late night call today with client in US she hoped the call would finish before 12:00 am. She din't want to start her birthday with a meeting call at work.
The call luckily got over around 11:30 pm. Riya wasn’t feeling sleepy. She took her iPhone and started checking her Gmail and then Facebook and then watssapp. There was nothing special. It was 12:00 am. Her phone rang... she jumped with joy. "Happy birthday honey" It was Yash. All these years Yash had not missed to wish her at 12:00 am. They talked for few minutes and then said Good night to each other; he also had to catch up for work next morning.
Riya looked at her phone there was no phone call waiting at the back end while she was chatting with Yash. She kept on looking at the phone and then restarted it again. It was 12:15 am. She started browsing and flipping apps on her phone. She opened her Facebook page. There were some automated messages from Facebook some songs and tunes created automatically by FB page which wished her happy birthday. It was all so robotic. There was a huge list of one liners from her Facebook friends "Happy Birthday Riya - have a blast” with some pictures similes, flowers and expressions". There were lots of them but still she missed something. Yes she had 600 friends on Facebook , whom she gazed day and night may be 20 times a day for what they were eating , what their kids were doing , which were the places they visited and in-turn they also saw her everyday and commented and liked her pictures .
Riya opened her watssapp she was a part of almost 12 different groups’ In-laws family, Mummy की family, Papa की family, Pune friends, Office friends, Neighbors, Housing society, Yash के friends... so on and so forth.
One of her cousin changed the name of the group "Happy wala Birthday Riya" Her Cousin from US who called her every birthday now has been messaging her on watssapp past some years "Happy birthday Riya have a great day ahead.” Then the series started every one pasted the same msg.
In one of the groups of Yash's friends there were almost 100 members, while everyone wished in single message someone said "Who is Riya?" after 50 irrelevant forwards someone replied "Yash's wife" then again every one copy pasted "Happy birthday Riya". They probably dint even know whom they were wishing .She replied “Thanks all for your wishes” She dint know if anyone had read it or not?
The next morning her parents ,in-laws and her kids called and wished her .She was blessed with a beautiful family who never missed to call her every year on her birthday wherever she was in the world. Within few hours she was in office all her neck deep engraved in her iPhone replying the whatsapp and Facebook messages with couple of calls from very close family members who were not very used to probably the new social networking media. The Automated message from the office HR made everyone aware of her birthday and then there was a series of emails wishing her but not even a single call.
At the end of the day while sitting in the hotel room Riya picked up her phone again, she was tired of typing. She looked at her contacts 600 friends on Facebook, more than 1000 contacts on Linked-in over 200 watsapp friends still only very few personal calls.
She actually missed the vigor of those calls on her birthday which she received few years back when technology was not so advanced when people actually remembered to call some near and dear ones. When everyone felt extra ordinary on their special days. Gone are those days when we never knew what was happening in everyday life of our friends right from what they were eating to what they were thinking but when they called they had so much to share.
Riya felt sad that her kids would never be able to experience the excitement of blank calls on their birthday from their girlfriends who would wish to talk to them without letting anyone know. They would never understand the excitement of nonstop phone calls on their special days. Technology has given so much freedom and privacy to this tablet driven generation that excitement of solitude no more exists .Social networking has created so much network but still the bond between people is missing somewhere.
May be it is good may be it is bad she din't have a firm answer but she was sure that there is certainly something missing which the technology had probably taken away from all of us - "The emotional attachment and warmth in relationships" .
But still she knew that there was no automation at one place it was her beautiful family who stood by her always and she felt blessed for the same.
As the day ended there were hundreds of messages in her in-box and all her social networking sites but practically apart from her family and some friends-"No one wished on her Birthday!!