Birthday gifts have been something that has not bothered to capture my attention. Significant birthday gifts in kind have only been the ones in recent memory, the books that Dhanya and Shyama have gifted, the T-Shirts and shirts etc.

Maybe, other than the books, nothing has made a significant impact on me – except for the ONE BIG SURPRISE I had before 29th December 2005. It was 2 days before my biggest ever party that we had on New Year’s Eve, of which I had written in one of my earlier literatures. The day was my 23rd birthday’s eve, and in those days, there was no social network giants like facebook or orkut to remind friends of birthdays.

It was the middle of a busy month end week, and being in the night shifts at HSBC, I always had a lot of sleep to catch up to. So every day, once I am back from Office, after the heavy lunch, I would be in a slumber till late night, most probably till 10 or 11pm. My shift usually starts at 1am, so my roommates Saju and Vinod usually brings me some parcel for dinner from the nearby Kairali hotel at Kamanahalli.

Occasionally when the sleep was difficult to catch up due to some disturbance, either Vinod talking on the mobile or Saju playing FIFA 2005 on the PC (It was not the age of laptops yet), I would wake up early (in this case, early means 8pm), and go out for dinner with them to Kairali or Empire Hotel.

On 28th also, I woke up to such a noise, I remember perfectly that it was quite a loud noise that day, Saju and Vinod shouting profanity at each other for no reason. Little did I know that it was a well planned out, stage managed act to wake me up and take me for a special dinner party (well… if you can call it that). I felt ok to wake up early, as it was my birthday right after midnight and was expecting a few of my close friends to call up just after midnight. I had no idea that my roommates had a thought that it was my birthday the next day.

We reached Kairali after a short 10 minutes walk, on the way as usual gossiping about the latest happenings at our office. The guys were absolutely kind to me that day and I had no inkling of the providence that was to befall me. At Kairali, at the table were already waiting Tijo and Shyam, my friends from College who were also in Bangalore and staying close by.

A smiling exchange of the usual loose talks between friends and we were yet to order the food. I had the first use of the wash and took my seat, the others then left the table for a wash. I suspected no harm in this…. and what happened seconds later was one of the most stinking, coldest and breathless (and yes… the happiest also) moments of my life.

What I got was a shower of rotten eggs on my head!!!

Gosh, all four of them rained one after the other at least 20 putrid eggs on my head and I was not in a position to make out what had hit me. My eyes were blocked of vision, but whatever little I could hear from the commotion outside, I could hear the entire mankind present at the hotel singing Happy birthday!!!

It was one kind of crazy way to treat a friend on a birthday. After all, it was a different kind of workout altogether. Although I stunk like I was the biggest rotten egg in the world, it gave me an extreme kind of pleasure in my mind as I had seen no other friend being given such a hit on a birthday. Also, I was quite amused that they took the effort to find my birthday, when I had never even told any of them that it was the day.

And don’t even think of the situation – I completed my dinner there and the walk back to our home… all in this form only. Back home, it took the next 2 hours to clean me up… well, those guys did not even think of helping me out. It was one of the toughest cleanup sessions of my life.

After it all ended, I was just in time for my cab to office. By the time it was past midnight and I started getting what all of us get on a normal birthday… wishes from parents, sister, close relatives and friends.

Those were the days!!!! After that, birthdays were mostly about the cake cutting (and of course, the facials that we get with the cream). But this one of a kind experience gave me one bright lesson in life – “Think Different”.

Only one regret – there are no photographs of the event 😦

It is the man who “Thinks Different” who is able to create an impact on others. Saju, Vinod, Tijo and Shyam – what was supposed to be just another ordinary birthday was made into an extraordinary experience by you guys!!!

It will remain etched in gold in my mind forever!!! Thank you dear friends!!!