Monday, 5 November 2012


A Story of Birthday Bash (Meta-fiction)

By Remigius de Souza

THERE IS AN INCREASING TREND of celebrating birthdays of children at junior schools and at homes, particularly in cities. This, of course, is presently prevalent among the elite class and English-medium convents/missionary and other schools. It is almost an unavoidable ritual.

It was perhaps started at missionary schools imported from abroad or perhaps from Hollywood-Bollywood-Tellywood. It is now customary. Even it is followed for the grownups.

My parents and we the children, coming from peasant families, were spared from this custom. We never celebrated anyone’s birthday then, or none in our native village. None suffered Identity Crisis. Now it is initiated at age one year. I fail to understand its logic.

Identity Crisis

Perhaps it helps to build-up one’s image, individuality, personality, identity or ego? It may be one of the instruments to prepare a child for the forthcoming judgements and comparison in her/his every walk of life.

Perhaps it gives an opportunity for the elders for celebration in otherwise fragmented / mass society; a sense of identity. Children are fully involved in learning — reading books and writing copybooks: talk-talk, read-talk, write-talk, copy-talk, and perhaps once in while think-talk.

They are hardly exposed to learn any other life-supporting skills for self-sustenance until they are adults, or even middle aged. That’s in the elite class.

Particularly in the recent times, the birthday bash must have come handy to bribe the generation of the unwanted, those born after the world-wide family planning campaign. It perhaps also helps to cover up the guilt of adding to the world population. Is it a consolation?

It comes as an easy package to assure the children, who have lost social contact in the stress and strain of urban life. Besides they are also spared from all other possible manual work and skills as a promise of better life by their ambitious parents.

The children, as they grow up, would capitalise on their talk-talk skills acquired at the successive classrooms. More the talk-talk skills acquired at successive stages — school/college/university — better is the income? No wonder the planning, expertise and equity at social levels are in shambles, not only in India but all over the world.

We have heard, the wealthy sometimes celebrated their birthday at sixty by ‘Tula” —  weighing gold or silver or eatables such as ‘Laddus’ equal of their body weight and distribute it among the well-wishers and their subjects.

Proverbially, the age sixty also marks a beginning of second childhood, or the beginning of fading ‘Buddhi’ – intellect/intelligence, or the drooping learning curve.

For centuries we have been celebrating Krishnashtami, Buddha Jayanti, Mahavir Jayanti, Isu Jayanti (Christmas) and others, Jayanti means victory day. They are the great souls. Their “Think-Act-Talk” is synchronised.

Then recently came state-sponsored birthdays: Gandhi Jayanti, Children’s Day, Teachers’ Day, and Ambedkar Jayanti etc. usually in the form of public holidays.

The role of the Government and/or Market

In our Nation, the Agency started campaigns, such as 'HUM DO, HAMARE DO' – We two, ours two. Thanks to the Managers of people's welfare could not reach the masses – royt – in our magnificent cultural diversity, as usual. The slogan failed, like our Public Distribution System (PDS) of Essential Commodities.

Omnipotent Omnipresent Market now supplies Event Managers for every occasion from birth to the final destination (undertaker!). Of course if you are ready to splurge!

Recently I saw Bollywood’s Big B's Birthday Bash on the KBC episode on a TV channel! Very sexy! Amazing feat! A trendsetter!

Who am I?

For me the birthday is very important date. Over the years I have been filling-up hundreds of form, which are mandatory, issued by several establishments.

Sometimes I have to prove even ‘who I am’ by showing an identity card with my photograph issued by another establishment. That’s in real life.
“Who am I?” has been the eternal question before man; but that’s for the philosophers to bother.

A child feels elated – a king for the day. We continue to blow up the candles ten, twenty sixty… times to be forgotten. It is a make-believe world.

Remigius de Souza
04-11-2002 (updated: 01-11-2012)
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.


  1. Remi, I wrote a long comment on this.Looks like its not been published.Wonder where it went??

    1. Dear Maya,
      You can still write it. I am eager to read.
      Take care.

  2. "It(Birthday bash) perhaps also helps to cover up the guilt of adding to the world population. Is it a consolation?" How does a birthday party do that?
    The more we deepen our sense of self,less the freedom.Birthday bashes do seem to add to this.The modern age of IT, moving, mowing like a monster, entrenched in this form of thinking is heading towards we know where. Maybe a little birthday celebration, with understanding, would do us good.;)

    1. Beautiful loud thinking; I can see you are in your element dear Maya! I love it so much!!
      Why not be Creative about how to celebrate? Even if one wants to be trendy, why not find unique new ways? There could be a million options, just as every leaf of a tree has different 'finger print'.
      But love imitation than be original, howsoever humble be it!
      Welcome here :-)

  3. Your post reminded one of this."Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
    Albert Einstein


  4. For many , it is a simple celebration, making them feel good on that day. My maid celebrates her sons birthdays, why not?. It is a small consolation for people who do not have. Ofcourse the bash that re conducted by the minority rich is out of this topic.

    If one wants, they can inculcate a sense of purpose on celebrations of birthday(in children form childhood on wards.). It is upto the parents.

    1. I agree! But as Vatsyayan says, 'It is not the way, but how you walk'. We celebrate birthdays - Jesus, Krishna, Rama, Buddha... today Gandhi Jayanti. But the way people follow has been introduced by the almighty omnipotent Market, Multimedia, Bollywood, Tellywood...
      I don't think the ordinary (sic) people are not creative. But the slavery of seven hundred years have made us dumb...