Jan 29, 2012

The land of two birthdays [28/365]

Don't you wish you had more than one birthdays in a year?
Well, if you're in India, chances are you'll know at least six people who have two birth-dates in a year. One, official and another real.

For the uninitiated, the official date is so that the parents could either advance/delay their child's entry into the coveted Indian education system. And the real one, well, is the actual date of birth that the child will eventually forget and have to be reminded by his parents every year.

Personally, I know more than a dozen people who have two birth-dates in a year. Lucky bastards. They get to enjoy the treats twice.
But will it pose any risks for that person as he/she grows up? Technically yes. But there are ways to get around it.
With the nationwide importance in school certificates and other such documents, the fake birth-date will be authenticated and unless you are actually looking to get more than one passport in your name, you could easily pass off your fake official birth-date as the real one. But the surprising thing is most people that I know who have a fake official birth-date also end up telling their friends and acquaintances that it is fake; when the friends and acquaintances call to wish them on their (fake) birthdays. I've been embarrassed on more than one instance when I've called to wish, only to be told that it is only their fake bday and their real bday is not until a few months down the line. Argh! How I envy these people.

But recently, the government of India realized one of its most senior Army Generals had two birth-dates too. (Read the interesting story here) VK Singh, at 59 is supposed to retire this year but wants to hang on for another year.
Now, two questions come to my mind.
Was the government snoozing all this while? In this age, where even MNCs have background checks on entry level employees, why didn't the govt do enough to check the veracity of his documents?
And, Retire a year later? What the f*** is wrong with the Sardar?
Most sane people his age (which aren't many) would love to hang up the boots and sit back in a lawn chair at a nursing home hoping to die in as much a dignified way as possible.

Ofcourse, one could argue that he gets to enjoy the salutes and the other perks that go along with the job, but with the Santa Singh fighting against the very government that is supposed to give him the pension benefits, he risks loosing everything.
If you ask me, he should be stripped of all his pre-retirement status and post retirement benefits right away for lying to the government and then fighting against it.

But this is not going to be the last time you'll hear of a person who has two birth-dates. Go to any Passport Offices and you'll meet with applicants whose passports have been declined/denied just because they had two birth-dates.

Happy Birthday to that!
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