Usually, birthday wishes on WhattsApp are terse, uninspiring and perfunctory; somebody starts it off (usually, one of the early birds), and the rest of the pack just punch in their statements (or worse, cut from an earlier message, and paste). The emojis, smileys and the inanimate bouquets and cakes only add to the dreariness and misery of the whole exercise. I guess it is part of the collateral damage caused by not being there physically to soak in the ambiance of the function, and in general, participate in the bonhomie that prevails when old chums meet over such events
This birthday wish is very different for two reasons: (a) It was one of the few occasions where we met face-to-face on a birthday, held and pumped hands, and gave (and in the bargain got), a jadoo ki jhappi from the prima donna. It was a hark back to the days of yore at college; and (b) The group Admin was present himself, in all his glory, to bless and cheer the b'day boy.
Vinod, you lucky rascal, am sure you had the time of your life yesterday evening. Am still reeling from the grand event conjured up by your kids - Shaivika and Raghav (with no doubt, more than a modicum of effort by Shalini, your better half) - to celebrate your golden birthday. Hats off to your talented progeny - Shaivika, a budding civil engineer and Raghav, who also wants to slip into his dad's shoes - carried it off with aplomb. My best wishes to both of them.
We had a gala and your wide beaming smile, stretching from one ear to the other, throughout the evening, said it all. The surprise presence of unanticipated friends, so thoughtfully coordinated by your children, would have been the icing in your b'day cake.
Wishing you all the very best buddy; may your journey to the diamond, platinum and indeed to the century, and thereafter, be as interesting, rollicking, successful, enjoyable and eventful as the last 50. God speed and fair winds.
PS. One of the points of discussion at yesterday's event was the omnipresent smile of Vinod's, that brings out the famed dimple. The dimple came in for much ragging and I strongly suspect it was possibly one of the most extenuating reasons that Shalini lost her heart to Vinod long years back.