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How my 60th birthday was celebrated in Aa Me Ri Ca

I went back in time to mull over the shocker of a birthday I had to encounter when a nephew of mine organized it without telling me, in my own home!

This enterprising nephew who was pursuing a PhD program in electrical engineering at a nearby University campus, would occasionally drop by late at night from the college campus where he used to live in a one room apartment.

There were times when we would ask him to stay at our place if we were going away on 2 or 4 weeks vacation. So leaving a spare key with him to enter through the backdoor of our house had made sense to us; he also knew how to disable the home security alarm system.

When I reached my 60th birthday per the *Gregorian calendar (*do not forget to read Foot Notes…) my wife was away in India and my two sons were far away attending to their college programs. I had taken the day off from work (US employers allow that,) I had planned to spend a quiet day at home.

“Forget celebrating it now, you have slept away your ‘shastipoorthi’ (60th birthday,) when it happened nearly 2 years back”, said my Hindu temple priest in USA after making back calculations about my birth date per Hindu almanac!” (Read Foot Notes to understand why it is so!)

In late afternoon of the day I am supposed to have attained by 60th birthday per the Gregorian calendar, I had planned to visit a shopping mall nearby to have a late leisurely lunch, watch a movie between 4 and 6 in the evening, do some shopping and head back home by 7-pm… to sleep off my ‘shastipoorthi’! 

Everything went as planned in late afternoon, I saw a 4-pm movie that ended at 5.30-pm, roamed about in the air conditioned shopping mall; picked up grocery for the week to head back home.

As I approached my home, located at a quiet cul-de-sac in our neighborhood, I noticed a SUV that I could not recognize, parked in my driveway.

The foyer, dining and living room lights were on. I was a bit shaken particularly since my home was built in a 1-acre secluded lot with my neighboring homes built at least 100 yards apart along the cul-de-sac and much more if you measured distance between houses in the neighborhood from my backyard in that suburban location.

Most people living in such suburban homes don’t bother to see who comes and who goes about in the only approach road to the neighborhood that end up at a cul-de-sac. All most all homes would have home security alarm and remote watch and ward from security companies who monitor the alarm systems round the clock.

I parked my car behind the parked SUV; I noticed that my car garage doors were shut. As I got down from my car the flash lights of the driveway lit up, automatically, the way we had programmed it, so we could walk up to our front door even in the dark. But as I was about to open my front door with my own keys… all lights inside the home switched off!

I gasped as I had not programmed it that way… now I really got shaken… robbers doing their job of decamping with TV, anything else they find valuable in home,  usually switch of lights when the owner enters… I remembered that!

I cautiously opened the front door to see a dim lit foyer with singing in chorus of Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday dear Uncle, Happy Birthday to You! A small crowd of 6 had gathered in the foyer around a small table with a cake and a dozen candles lit on it!

Apparently, this enterprising nephew of mine had comedown from the campus in some friend’s SUV earlier; they were all having a small celebration cleaning up my frig and the liquor cabinet!

Thank heavens they had brought with them food and bites enough for all of us to eat that night!

See the source image

Jeep/SUV  in  driveway, picture is a download from the net for purposes of illustration.

* FOOT NOTES (Gregorian vs Hindu system)

Because of differences in the way a year is marked in calendars like Gregorian (Western) and Hindu (traditional Indian) number of days in one year varies by as many as 11 days between the Hindu calendar and the Gregorian calendar (except in a leap year when it varies by 12 days!) Gregorian year is generally 365 days (except in a leap year that comes every 4-years, an additional day is added, making the Gregorian year to add up to 366 days.)

The Hindu (traditional) year is always 354 days, has been so for millennia, ever since Hindu wise-men (rishis) started looking at stars, moons and the sun. It remains so even today… if you ever cared to look into a traditional Hindu panchang (almanac.)

Hindu calendar system is based on moon cycles; it is pure and simple astrophysics as applied to our immediate surroundings in our solar system.

The Gregorian calendar is the calendar in current use in the western world & in many part of the free world, both as the civil & Christian ecclesiastical calendar ordained or imposed on us by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. The Gregorian calendar has 365 days with an extra day every four years (the leap year, to make it a 366 day year,) except in years divisible by 100 but not divisible by 400 (weird if you ask me… because Gregory does not explain why?) Months: Jan, March, May, July, August, October, December have 31 days; while April, June, September, November have 30 days. Month of February is 28 days except in a leap year when it has 29 days! You must remember all this. When I was explaining all this to my 4-year old young nephew he asked me why is that so… and, I was stumped! I had worked for NASA but just could not explain it to my little nephew! I asked him to go and ask a catholic Pope if he ever came across one.

Modern astronomers all over the world feel that the Gregorian calendar does not follow moon cycles and therefore not very scientific (does the moon get an additional go around the earth every 4-years (leap year, for example,) particularly in the month of February!? Hilarious to think like that, say the modern day astronomers. They have declared that Pope Gregory was not a man of science!

When Julius Caesar ruled the Roman empire, he wanted a month named after him… and so the month of July carries his name; Julius wanted an extra day in it to wine and dine with the Roman senators… so the Popes of the time gave 31 days for July.

Then came Augustus Caesar. He also demanded an extra day in month named after him; so the Popes gave 31 days in August too.
Previously, 30 day and 31 day months were alternate months, these two monarchs ruined that system… with the exception of February month, which has 28 days (no one knows why…) until Pope Gregory made his declaration that once every 4 years we must all leap (to where!) and add a day in February, and so the 29 day February was born! Get my drift!?

NASA for example, marks Julian Dates when launching rockets and satellites or when they find a new star or a galaxy. Julian dates (abbreviated JD) are simply a continuous count of days and fractions since noon Universal Time of January 1, 4713 BC (based on the Julian counting system.) NASA could say Hindu Krishna’s birth date is 720 JD (Btw, Krishna’s birth date, as per the Gregorian Calendar, is July-1, 3228 BCE.) Who is Krshna some of you might ask. He is the one who gave me a wake up call not too long ago; read about that in my blog: KRSHNA

The Hindu calendar system marks twelve months by the same cycle as the lunar phases (29.5 days marks each month) depending on celestial movement as moon cycles are counted from mid day (Abhijit Muhoorat, starting at 12 noon.)

So the Hindu calendar system is more scientific, simple to implement; astronomers all over the world, have acknowledged this. In the Hindu calendar system the month is broken down into two fortnights, a Dark one (waning moon) and a Light one (waxing moon), each lasting fifteen lunar days. In some months, a day of the cycle may need to be dropped to correlate with a shorter lunar cycle. The first day of the month varies from calendar to calendar. Sailors like the moon cycles too… they can easily experience the moon cycles in the ebb and flow of the tides.

Generally, in Northern India the full moon marks the first day of the month (example, Chitra Poornima.) In some regions of southern India (Tamilnadu for example,) the full moon marks the first day of the month too.

But then again, in southern as well as some regions of western India, the year beginning celebrations are marked from the new moon day too… falling 14 days short of Chitra Poornima, as in Ugadi/Yugadi/Gudipadava/Cheti-Chand observed as new year day on 6th of April in 2019, in Andhra, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Kashmir and Sindh regions.


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Suresh Rao

Mellowed out and enlightened septuagenarian. Tech savvy. Social writing is just a pastime to kill time. I keep contributing to several developmental projects in the area of engineering education, IT and Healthcare projects launched by my kith and kin. I am too lazy to write a book, 'cause I think my life itself is a book! I am also at
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Navneet Bakshi
1 year ago

Did you change the picture, while I was reading the blog? 🙂 It must have been scary. Good, you didn’t call the police before opening the door or your nephew and his friends would have got a surprise. No one knows why Gregorian Calendar was forced upon the people when their own calendars had stood test of time. I had read your blog about ” When Krishna came in yous sleep”. You haven’t told about why the priest said “Forget celebrating it now, you have slept away your ‘shastipoorthi’ (60th birthday,) when it happened nearly 2 years back”, said my Hindu temple priest in USA after making back calculations about my birth date per Hindu almanac!…how did he learn about what you had done on that day?

Navneet Bakshi
1 year ago
Reply to  Suresh Rao

But I thought that there was a feature incorporated in the design of the website of which I wasn’t aware, so I asked you 🙂

Navneet Bakshi
1 year ago
Reply to  Suresh Rao

That is interesting. Never really thought of it, but there’s a valid point that if you want to do the ritual of shastipoorthi then it must be done as per the Hindu calendar :). Chinese count the age from the day of one’s conception 🙂

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