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An experiment I did on my birthday


My birthday falls on 17th January (Same date, every year). It’s falling from last 27 years at least. Most of my birthdays have been fun with so many wishes from various channels including personal meetings, phone, social media, SMS, whatsapp, emails and even post cards.

This time, I thought I should do something interesting, so I did an experiment.

I went back to January 17, 2007, exactly ten years ago.

I searched through Gmail’s awesome filter and looked at all of my emails on 17th of January 2007.

So many emails I had never responded.  Felt guilty that these are people I legitimately love and care about and I just haven’t responded their emails.  I’m so ashamed I become

Afraid to write to them.

So I responded to about ten of the emails as if I had just gotten them.


With each email, I wrote a couple sentences about where we met last (especially before 2007) as well as the advise/suggestion/gift/lesson they gave that and what happened.



One of these was this company that wanted to give me free flight ticket. They were the first ones to respond, “Out of business!”

But other people started responding too.


One was this school friend who I’ve not been touch all these 10 years. He sent me an E-card wishing me birthday. Interestingly he responded my email almost instantly. He wished me birthday. Told that he’s living in Germany, working with a well known technology company. We reconnected. We’re meeting in March as he’ll be in India for a week then.


One person, a well known guy who I had long lost touch with, wrote back, “Hey Prateek! I’m so glad to hear from you. I’m glad you followed that advice. I have

To tell you, though, that it wasn’t from me. It was my mother who first told me that advice.”

He was one of the very first people who advised and motivated me to follow my passion when so many others were against the idea.

So not only did I make him feel good (hopefully) but I brought back memories of his mother, and let him know that her effect was still being felt among

People and I was grateful for it.

And I reminded myself to keep following his advice.


Another school friend who had stopped talking to me from last 6-7 years because of some miss understanding wrote me too. I reminded her of a time when she unknowingly slept in my lap while we were on a school picnic, how much of connotations people made about it and the awesome time we’ve had still.

She wrote back for the first time in six years of not speaking to me, how she missed those days and shared some stories of what has been

happening to her since.


One friend responded that she needs my number. I wrote her my number back and she immediately called me.


I also had this email from my first girlfriend. I didn’t respond to that email. Just read that 3 times. Felt like crying. Would have perhaps cried, but received call from someone just around that time, so got saved.


What an incredible experiment this turned out to be. Simple act of writing emails, something I do almost hundred times a day and yet I’ve neglected them (both knowing and unknowingly).

These people are however amazing. They responded almost instantly. I received 6 responses within 24 hours. They all responded very warmly, as if we never stopped communicating. Thank you each of you. I can’t thank enough.

I felt guilty and apologised to have not responded. Realized that being busy is normal. All of us are busy in our lives, but It’s how you live your life each day that determines how you create a lifetime.

Don’t wait 10 years.  Go and connect with people that took time to add value in your life. Value them. respect them. Respond them, love them. a

As Dolly Parton wrote,  ‘Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life!’

  • Ayush Jain

    Fan of James Altucher. Aren’t we ? 🙂



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