Birthday Culture: Yayy or Nah?

I don’t know about you but if there is one thing that I no longer look forward to, it’s my birthday. I do not want to come off as a self-centred, depressed soul but the older I get, the more birthdays seem to be just an ugly reminder of my advancing age and retracting self-esteem. If anybody gets this perspective shift right around here, hey I am taking a ‘jaamyam’ already! There are a lot of stories and ideals behind why birthdays are celebrated, why we have to blow off candles, cut cakes and so on. I do not know the answers to any of these, so if you are still interested might as well do what any sane person would do, Google them (Don’t roll your eyes at me like that!). However, today I would like to introspect what birthdays have evolved into, how the culture has changed and how from a young kid grinning with a box of chocolates in hand, we have transformed into lunatic people running away from your friends ‘armed’ with mutta and maida. Oh no, we aren’t baking cakes here!

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The big, beautiful, bold…cut it! The Birthday Cake

There is no birthday without a birthday cake. No matter how small, big or inexistent your parties have been, there was always a cake in it. Hostel birthdays were more fun because you can’t wait for your moron friends to switch off the lights at exactly 12 AM and then come screaming in with a cake, singing “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” at the top of their voices. While you stand there and then realise that you have to put up the act of “Awww you people totally surprised me!” while all the time you’ve been thinking if this could have been done right after the pathetic dinner you had and was actually craving desserts. All’s well until the cake’s been cut and you start putting atomic-sized pieces into your friends’ mouth and they in return smear the cream all over your face. Argggghhh! What is the whole point of this nobody-asked-you-for cream facial thing?! We all know people who also buy a cheaper cake so that it can be used solely for smashing the birthday guy/girl’s face into it! Sick.

Oh it’s your birthday, let’s make it your death day too!

This. This has always been the most gruesome part of the birthday culture we have. Where you hit the person as cruelly as you can, with whatever you have to wherever you get to touch the person. But we call it with a very catchy phrase- the ‘birthday bashings’! (Notice the ba ba praasam) For what joy, dude? Is it a reminder that you’ve been a ‘bhaaram’ to the ‘bhoomi’ enough already and that you should pay for the sin you have committed by being born? Or is it beating the bad luck out of you? Beats me. We have all read about birthday celebrations gone horribly wrong, so better to cut down a little on this one, right?

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Treat treateyy!

Doesn’t even matter if you know the person or not. They still spring on you and go “Chelav chelav” like a broken tape-recorder and you’ll be like the lottery ticket selling chettan, “naaleyaan naaleyaan!” Birthday treats are real fun though when you go out with your ‘real’ friends and eat whatever you like (within your budget of course) and roll your eyes at the ones who came with ‘vaadakaykk edtha vayar’!

Messages, stories, and birthday posts!

On this day, everyone from that uncle you last saw at your noolukett to the State Bank of India sends you nice and warm birthday messages. You get tagged by countless accounts and embarrassing pictures of a younger you walking naked in your backyard resurface. The cringiest are the ones who have no time for all this. But, they make sure to take time off their ‘very busy’ schedule to text you a “HBD”. What on Earth, dude? I can even pay you for the minutes you had to waste to type out a full “Happy Birthday!”. What even is this “HBD”? Well, it could even be hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase or ‘Had Been Drinking’! No, I didn’t make this up.

“Happy Birthday choooyuu…Happy birthday chooyu..”

Remember how stressful those 2 minutes of your life were in school? When all the kids would stand up and sing the birthday song for you while you stand in front of the class waiting for the performance to get over. It gets funnier at home when all your relatives have different nicknames for you and after ‘happy birthday dear..’ it all goes blablabla. And how many of us even know the full birthday song? By the time we finish singing the same verse twice we are already eyeing the cherry on the cake and wondering if the flowers are eatable!

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There are a lot of whims and fancies associated with a birthday and its culture. While as kids we looked forward to getting all the attention, now the last thing we need is attention! But still, birthdays are a great time for us to perhaps plan things ahead and do a little happy dance for successfully completing one trip around the Sun! 

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