Warrier's Collage October 13, 2021

Birthday and Date of Birth M G Warrier This October 15, I will be completing 77 years, officially. Born on August 9, 1944, there's a timelag of 60 plus days between my Birthday and Date of Birth. I'm fortunate to have three birthdays in a year since 1958 when I came to know my official date of birth is 15101944. This is how I came to know about my Date of Birth as per my school records : When I was in Class XI (SSLC), I was called to school office. I was given a form in which a certificate was to be obtained from a doctor without which I will not be allowed to appear for SSLC Examination in March 1959 as I would not be fourteen and a half years old by that time (Now I know, if my correct DOB was on records this problem would not have arisen!) Next day, my father took me to the town 5 miles away and we waited in the portico of a doctor's clinic with other patients for our turn. Once we could meet the doctor, as he was fortunately aware of the requirement, he immediately made the certificate, affixed a rubber stamp and gave it in my hands with his blessings to come up in life. We still owe his fees which he didn't accept that day. The doctor asked my father to consider the one rupee coin offered as his "Dakshina" for prayers (my father was in his Namboodiri attire with bare upper body!) I'm fortunate, as I get reminded about my birthday thrice a year. My parents and sisters knew my birthday by the Star and Malayalam month. The real date, August 9 is known to my family. My friends know only my "official" DOB. And I am blessed with several friends including you reading this just now. Today, my friend V Rangarajan shared this beautiful reminder : "When God forgets to tie some people in Blood relations, He corrects this mistake by making them Friends." Sometimes such statements give deeper meaning to things which we may already know. People much younger to you will tell you, "age is just a number". I'm aware, it's not true. Every birthday takes you nearer to the next transition. But that reality need not bother one, so long as reasonable good physical and mental health remain friendly. This is not an expression of craze for longevity. Last week, Asha Sharat gave a beautiful message to the youngsters who ignorantly think that these oldies are clinging to life occupying crowded space, because of their greed to enjoy more. In her tribute to her loving father who left the stage recently, she said : "Dad has surrendered his mortal existence to the "Panchabhootaas". Many thought, Dad loved long life. Some of us were aware that his attachment was not to the celebration that is life. Now, it dawns clearly from the silent voice of Panchabhootaas of which Dad is an integral part, that, the purpose of his fight with the stronger ailments that pulled him down, was not guided by greed to enjoy longer life. He wanted to remain a strong pillar of support for mother and me who were groping in the dark after suffering different kinds of shock. Yes, our mind was going blank again and again, succumbing to hell-like situations. Remaining an example himself, living a righteous life of a Karma Yogi, he held our hands tightly..." Children who have understood you during your lifetime are an asset to any parents. Lucky, me too! I've diverted from my Birthday which is supposed to be the subject of this piece. The 60 plus days I gained "officially" by a wrongly recorded DOB, lingered as a pain for me till I opted for retirement 13 months prior to the actual date of superannuation. But, even that was after receiving remuneration from employers for more than 40 years from August 1, 1963! Sometime back I read somewhere, in the context of the book "Preparing for Death", Arun Shourie was publishing Shourie's friend mentioned to him : "Perhaps, by now we have more friends on the other side of the fence!" Fence was a reference to the border between life and death. Having said that my own view is, "Don't trouble the trouble, till trouble troubles you!" (Borrowed from my friend Vartak...I talked to him last week) ***. ***. ***

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