Monday, April 06, 2015


Good evening!

“There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why.” William Barclay.

I’m not feeling anything emotionally as well as mentally although I’m getting one year older again. But I have to thank God for the countless blessings since the day I was conceived in my mother’s womb. Obviously, today is my birthday and coincidentally, so is my youngest brother. We both share the same date and month except the year and the day. I wish him the best like I have always. And I hope he is ready and excited to be joining the next steps of adults. It is not that he is turning 18 rather he is no longer a teenager but joining the club of 20's. Both of us sharing the same date and month seemed to benefits my family. They don’t need to buy two birthday cake… :)

I can still remember very clearly celebrating my 13th birthday and becoming a teenager. The birthday was special because we usually do not celebrate birthday as part of our tradition before then. And I cannot recall attending any birthday party as a kid hosted by close family or relatives from my own community. Now, it has changed with time and I'm sure most family from my community are celebrating birthday. However, I'm still not sure why the celebration of birthday is not part of our tradition. It is not that my traditions do not allow birthday celebration. Maybe, those days we were not aware or greatly influenced by popular culture of western countries or maybe we felt it is not that important to observe our date of birth. I think the influence of western popular culture make more sense. And also, our conversions to Christianity in the late 1960’s and 70’s have more to do with the outcome of our tradition we follow presently.

Here in our country India, the origin of birthday celebration has more to do with the shaving of head on a child’s first birthday. It is believed shaving head cleanses any evil from past life and renewing of soul. Male children of Hindu especially the Brahmins celebrate the 12th or 13th birthday with a grand thread ceremony. The child takes the blessed thread and wears it, symbolizing his coming of age. I feel the celebration of birthday is also important as it is with marriage. Besides the singing, cake cutting, dancing, dinner, etc., in a birthday celebration, it is always good to be reminded of our age every year. Especially, when boy or girl turns 18, he/she is an adult legally and is granted the universal suffrage, the right to vote. It means as an adult, we are all equally responsible for our actions and we will be accounted for it. And the right to vote is one we should be exercising in coherent with the future we plan for ourselves and live a better life. Note that, this is one great weapon we have and be able to pull the trigger to shape our future.

The saddest thing about becoming an adult citizen is that some of us still hold on to the childish behaviors and some of us still think like a child. It is very uneasy and nauseous to see an adult not being adult in news, T.V, etc. And it doesn't make sense at all. Either the person has to be in mental hospital or deported to a place where civilization is out of reach. But the proposition I've mentioned is impossible because we do know and understand we are not mentally incapable yet we behave like one.

Therefore, in a lighter way with sarcasm… :), it is always good to be reminded of our age every year with birthday celebration. And gradually, we can start seeing the thing we'd close our eyes before and face the thing we'd avoided rather than not to experience at all. Think about the Jewish tradition, they considered a 13 year old boy as coming of age and celebrate the moment in the form of Bar Mitzvah. And here in our country itself, a 12 or 13 year Hindu boy is considered coming of age yet for some people, even after turning 18 or 19 or 30 or 40, and that too legally. Honestly, what’s wrong with us? Our rich Indian culture and tradition can be interpreted in a way to back us up and to move forward but not the other way around.

This is purely my interpretation of us being not an adult enough. I believed our life in fast track lane, constraint of jobs and primarily our state of economy can also be factors not helping us in identifying ourselves rather making us live our life in dystopian age even though we live in the present. But sometimes, it is also good to start living an ordinary life so we can reboot and reborn ourselves with new roots keeping in touch with our culture and tradition. And I'm no preacher rather an 'idealist.'

I’d like to conclude this blog with the wishful thoughts of Voltaire, “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well."

Thank you. And have a good night!

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