ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Posts Tagged ‘times

Why do we Celebrate Birthdays?

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Like always, I threw a party for my friends this birthday. We celebrated, ate, I got gifts et al. This year was different though. I turned 25; a quarter of my life gone. According to a legend, man lives total of four lives. First 25 years “life of a human” when he enjoys, next 25 years “life of a bull”, when he works like hell, next 25 years “life of a dog”, when he barks and no one listens to him. And the last 25 years “life of an owl” when he is awake at night and listens to everyone without his own existence.

Accordingly I am done living the enjoyment part of my life. During early years of my life I used to wait eagerly for this day. New clothes, gifts, money. As fate should have it, I started falling ill on my birthdays regularly. At the age of 8 my Grandma decided enough is enough, no more celebrations. “Logaun ki nazar lag jaati hai chore ko”.

From that day, I avoided opulent celebrations, a tradition which I have carried on since. It has been just a few close friends, raising a toast and a small cake cutting; personal and close. Inadvertently I have moved on from opulence to sobriety.

I often wonder why we celebrate birthdays at all. When and how the tradition started? It could not have started before the advent of calendars, right? We just celebrated birth and death prior to that. At birth God gifts life, at death God takes it away. Both events take us closer to God. Hence the celebrations.

During winters, days get smaller, and as summer approaches they start getting bigger. Early people thus considered advent of summers as rebirth of Sun. This was among the first annual birthday celebrations by man. When calendars came into existence the same was applied to birth of the son (sun, Jesus) and effectively to every human being.

So what does birthday celebrations signify during our modern times? Are we celebrating the coming year, are we celebrating the accomplishments of the past year, are we celebrating surviving yet another year?

If we are celebrating the future life, than with each passing year, we have less and less reasons to celebrate. So should a septuagenarian celebrate any less than a guy in his twenties? If the answer is no, then one thing is quite clear that we are not celebrating the future life.

Are we celebrating the past year? But why? The past is past. It is gone. It is a like the sand which has dropped out of the hand. It is like the wind that has passed. We could have admired it as it was happening but why should we celebrate the past. Though we often raise a toast to the past years accomplishments during the party, it’s just a filler.

Since we move one year closer to death, we are for sure not celebrating the gift of life. Coz we are one step closer to that gift being taken away. It will be a delusional stunt of defying death if that is what we are celebrating.

What I feel is that birthdays are just a timely reminder of our existence in this vulnerable world. It’s a way by which we feel ourselves. We realize our existence. “Look, I am still here, despite what life has thrown at me. It’s just another way to celebrate who we are and where we have come from. It’s just another way to announce ourselves.

Battered mAnimals

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There is a saying “Man by nature is a social animal”. I agree with the animal part at least, can’t say much about being social. Then again, I might be wrong. Recently I read in a newspaper that now women can also be booked under domestic violence charge. How liberating! One field which we men considered our monopoly has been taken away. What are we without the rage, the anger, the violence? Anyways, I don’t think any of the men will come forward with such a complain Coz in our society what place is there for a man who has been domesticated violently by a woman and needed law to save him.

To be true Men have been subjected to domestic violence for long. Despite this and the fact that most of the lawmakers have been men, why was such an initiative never taken earlier? The answer is the male ego. It’s very hard for us to concede that we could be subjected to violence, that too by a woman. After all We are the boss, aren’ we?.

This leads me a critical question. Who really is the boss of the family? Most of us would answer, The Male. Well you wouldn’t be far from truth. Man is looked upon as the provider and the face of the family, The Head. The child is known by his father’s name. It’s always been Mr. X and his family. Mr. X comes first and the family tags behind.

Has it been so from the inception? Well this took me to some digging. And the answer lies from where I started. Man being an animal. In earlier times, humans used to live in “groups” for fear of being attacked by animals, we being lot weaker than others. Just like animals today, there was no bondage of a male and a female for life. Everyone slept with everyone. So you see, it was never quite clear who the father of the child was? So child was known by the name of the mother and was fathered by most of the group males. The female was the lead and the most powerful. She was looked upon as one who took the group forward by providing offspring, The Provider. Gathering food, taking care of protection of the group were mere laborious.

With time humans prospered. They stopped being gregarious and Man being stronger felt to show supremacy. One man-One Woman concept became vogue. Child now had a uniquely identifiable father, could be named after him. Man became the lead, the head.

So evidently it’s the offspring who decides who the boss is. Earlier offspring could be identified by the mother, so female was the head, now it could be identified by the father, so male is the boss. So in effect the saying that, “Child is the father of Man” takes precedence here too.

P.S: To all those fellow men who have been victims of domestic violence, do visit, Battered Men.

Written by arpitgarg

June 14, 2010 at 6:46 pm

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