Research Analyst, with a mandate to cover real estate, but often strays into imaginary castles in the air. Women and finance is another of my interests, being a woman and all. I believe in rebirth and evolution into a higher life form (ala journalist).

Meera Siva

Bashing the birthday bashes

| Updated on July 07, 2013 Published on July 07, 2013

The scale of birthday parties and the cakes are fit for royalty

The birthday is without doubt the most important day in a year for every person. And their child’s birthday is even more special to parents as they cherish the birth and want to celebrate the special day every year. Yet, I am still at a loss to understand the splurge on birthday parties for young kids.

Age of excess

In most traditions, a child’s first birthday is an important milestone, as infant mortality was quite high in the past. The period around reaching the age of one is marked with many ceremonies and the day is marked by a gala event. Many people continue to do the traditional function and top it off with a ‘party’ where even hordes of people are invited.

The cost of this affair runs into lakhs, as parents go all-out for top-of-the-line hall, wide array of dinner items, thematic decoration and return-gifts. And with the growing popularity of event planners, the budget balloons very fast. Ok, I confess that I am too much of a bean counter who calculates the compounded returns on the money that could have been saved and invested in a mutual fund.

Of child and mouse

Parents however well and truly believe they are spending for the happiness of the child, which is priceless. But one look at the one year old will dispel this myth. The kid is decked in ornaments and the glittering clothes pinch, poke and irritate the child. And if it manages to get over that, the good intentioned visitors pinch, cuddle and irritate the child. A few who learn to ignore the intruders may still not escape the terror unleashed - by the costumed mouse.

In most parties there is a person in a grimy, splash of mis-matched colour costume and an oversized animal head, meant to entertain kids. However, this sends a chill through the child’s spine whose survival instincts kick-in and it flees for its dear life. The wails are joined by high pitched cries of other innocent ones who are also in shock and awe. The person inside the un-breathable, probably unwashed costume is likely suffering just as much.

No cake walk

The other interesting must-have is cake. I have nothing against polished white flour, empty calorie sugar and fatty butter whipped up with non-food grade coloring. Just that if we want to cut something, why not have bureaucrats cut out red-tape or all of us cut down a few of our wasteful habits? Somehow we have been brainwashed into believing that a birthday is not complete without a cake that needs to be ceremoniously cut.

Kids do not want a grand event that leaves them in tears. All they want is to enjoy simple things, cherish each day as a celebration. Maybe, have Unbirthday party - like the characters in Alice in Wonderland do. We may be missing the forest for the tree by being focused on one day of the year.

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Published on July 07, 2013
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