(Written on 7-4-2005 and mailed to many friends across the world)
As a ‘self-centered’ person, I am very much concerned about my birthday and such personal events. This narration is about the most memorable birthday wish that I ever received in my life. Today is my birthday, and no one knows in my class of Journalism this fact. Of course, I am very thankful to those who have sent me some B’ day SMS's to my cell phone and I know some of their Birthdays, for example, Georgekutty on this 13, Shan on August, Mahesh and Sony on a particular day that they don’t like to reveal.
Well…today we – I mean, my classmates and myself – were lectured by a true professional of Journalism, Mr. Joe A. Scaria, who is the Special Correspondent of Economic Times of Kerala region in India. His brother is very familiar to all, Mr. Hormis Tharakan, the former chief of RAW. Also, Mr. Joe belongs to my nativity, somewhere near Edamattom or Changanacherry in Kottayam district.
All right, as explaining several things Mr. Joe asked “Imagine a group of 25 persons, can you tell me the possibility of at least two persons’ BIRTH DAYS fall on the same day?”
As a Mathematics graduate, I at once stood up on my toes and said it is 2 divided by 365, though I was sure about the mistake that I have committed while calculating the probability. Some one answered it is 100%, and I do not know the motive behind his answer or how on earth he is going to prove his claim. (In every friendly group that I belong to, I have a competitor).
Mr. Joe’s reply made me happy “I would like to join the first group of 2 divided by 365 and I am sure that there does not exist even that much possibility. Because, it is almost impossible for two persons in a group of 25 to have same birthday, though there is a chance.”
He continued, “...but experts found that the possibility for two persons of a group of 25 to have the same birthday is 50%. Though, it seems incredible, I have been checking and verifying this fact by asking birthdays of students of journalism for the past 16 years. And amazingly from 14 out of the last 16 batches I got at least one pair of persons having the same birthday”
I made a ridiculous comment at that time which turned everyone into roaring out of laughing, “Sir, the reason is that in Kerala most marriages are happening in the same season”. Mr. Joe embarrassed and flashed a shy smile.
He said, “Well, let us examine this fact in this same batch, Ok, here are 8 students and please raise your hands if you celebrate your birthday in January”, no one raised hand.
“February…” two pupils raised…and Joe asked both of their B’ days to find both were different.
He asked “March”, only one raised.
“April” I raised. He just ignored, because I was the only one of the April category and asked the next month “May”. Before getting the answer he came back and asked me “On which date is your Birthday?”
The moment that I expected...and I answered with a slight excitement “Today”
Mr. Joe sighed and shook my hand saying “Happy Birthday Mr. Tom”...The most unforgettable birthday wish (because of its unexpectedness and charm) and I replied with Thanks a million. My classmates also began to say happy birthday to me.
Well my dear friends… That is the story of the memorable birthday wish, which I ever received.
Photo: Joe in Class