Happy Birthday to Me
They say a careless man’s wife is almost widow. The same applies for me. Even I was too lazy to write a few lines on my blog yesterday, the day when I turned 25. Yes, it was my birthday on July 9, 2008. Yet, it was some of my very caring friends and colleagues who made my day very beautiful with their best wishes, greeting cards, magnificent gifts and most importantly the unexpected overseas calls.
Dear all, those greetings and best wishes meant a lot to me. I know it would be too difficult for me to name all of you while expressing my gratitude to you but some names are worth mentioning.
Pallavi Basu: My cute Indian class fellow who ‘tried to call but the lines could not get connected.” Yet, Pallavi sent me an unexpectedly pleasant birthday SMS from New Delhi as soon as the clocks showed a change in the date. Pallavi, that meant a lot to me. Thanks a lot. Pallavi and I have so many interests in common. We are both crazy about politics but still can’t get much time to sit and discuss politics on a hot cup of coffee.
Talha Masood: This brother-like-friend-cum-bachpan-ka-dost of mine gave me the largest ever birthday card. Talha was so kind that he dropped the huge card at my office even a few days before the birthday because he was going to Karachi. Yet, he didn’t want to miss the occasion. For those of you, who don’t know Talha, let me mention that he has most comments on this blog to his credit.
Ruchi Sherma: Ruchi is a journalist friend working with reputed Indian news channel, CNN-IBN. An ACJ fellow, Ruchi didn’t know how much I was expecting a call from her. She rang me up from New Delhi and wished me a very happy birthday when I was working in my office on my birthday.
Jacob Cherian: The other day, I was telling my friend Bakhto [Bakhtawar] that the reason I love India is not that I am tried of Pakistan. But I love India because I made some of my best friends in that country. Regardless of the religion these friend of mine follow, something which counts a lot in Pakistan while forming relations, these fellows have a great place in my heart.
I love India due to friends like Jacob Cherian. Jay, as we call him, has been very kind to me since we started knowing each other at ACJ. I visited his home for a dinner on the eve of Christmas 2005. I met his family. They were really very forthcoming. The dinner was also attended by the ACJ chairman Sashi Kumar. That was two years back. J asked me not to tell anyone at ACJ that Mr. Kumar had also turned up for the dinner at his residence. I never disclosed that as long as I was in ACJ. Don’t know why I was asked to do so. Then, there was the other night I can’t ever forget: Jay didn’t sleep the whole night when I was coming to Pakistan after completing the ACJ course. He was there to drop me at the airport. He did.
“Hey Malik,” he said as I picked up the call at 1:45am this morning: “I know I am late. But I am not very late, am I? How many hours am I late?” I replied that it didn’t’ matter how late he was but his call was a reiteration of our friendship.
DvD: DvD stands for Divya Dugar. Who doesn’t know that, by the way? Though we have spoken on the phone many times, it was the first time I could not recognize her voice. One of the belated-wishers, Divya called me when Mazhar, my photographer, and I were going to Hazar Ganji in the outskirts of Quetta. She said she was badly pre-occupied with work the other day. Yet, this party girl had a lot to miss: “Malik, I wish “we” [perhaps she was referring to our other friend, Syna] were there for the birthday party.
Seema Kanwal: Seema works at my bureau as a staff reporter for our Urdu paper, Aaj Kal. Seema, that present was awesome. Simply the best of all.
Linette Marie C. Ramos:
Lineette, a journalist friend from the Philippines, was with us in Berlin, Germany last November. Joyce, also from the Philippines, and Linette were the stars of the one month long media training workshop on Election Reporting. She had to say this in her e-mail today:
“hey, i know i’m one day late… at least it’s only a day, you know. :-)”
For me, it is not the birthday cake or birthday party which matters the most. I don’t know why but for me birthday greetings and wishes mean a lot . Each and every message touched my heart. I am among the people for whom friends mean a life.