Birthdays are special occasion for most people. Special day, celebrated, purely because it happens to be the day on which the self, which, of course, is the center of known universe — not in cosmic sense but in sense of world around it — came into existence in its own conscience. An exercise in narcissism, no doubt, yet perfectly valid, for any other metric of time is intellectual, theoretical, abstract, and in any practical sense, immaterial. A person’s conscience has only one true timescale which runs from birth to death. Of course, why the day, and not moment, hour or minute, and why annually, and not in any other periodicity, is purely conventional.
Most people like to make their birthdays special day for themselves, affording themselves luxury of their favourite pastime, meal, indulgence, or anything that brings them happiness. Most of remaining people are generally upbeat their birthdays if not making a fuss of it. Rest, just let it be.
For those who care, of course, receiving birthday wishes is expected. It is desired from one to wish another birthday wish, if former happens to come to know about this, and is in presence of later, even if there is no familiarity between them. At their annual frequency, birthdays, naturally, become convenient touch points with people whom one would place in acquaintance category — not too friendly to connect often, yet preferable to be in touch with. Given that people expects and like being wished on birthdays helps the matter.
What doesn’t help, apparently, is the mechanism for helping you remember their birthdays. People expects, surprisingly, that you wish them because you remembered their birthday. This also applies to any wish-requiring occasion such as anniversary. An emphasis on expensive brain real-estate marks the importance person has in your life. Even if you took help of any of technological aids (calendar, reminder), you are not to disclose, for it will reduce well-being conveyed by your wish. No wonder impact of my ‘Happy Birthday’ drops a notch soon I tell them — only on being asked how come I remember — that I remembered it because I was reminded by my calendar system. I must pretend that I remembered. My getting external help seems to suggests farcical wish and not a genuine one. That I bothered to make note in may calendar and took effort to wish is easily swept away. Of course, wiser next time, I just remember. That is not to say that people don’t know it but they would rather not have this be stated explicitly. How many birthday wishes on facebook, a purely rhetorical question, mind you, are because your friend saw the reminder on top right? Yet, would one dare to draw the attention to the same? No one does, of course.