Skip to main content

The Birthday Generation


I was told about a particular teacher, who happened to observe a group of girls celebrating the birthday of a particular Indian movie actor in a school. (I forget whether it was Salman Khan or Sharukh Khan’s, but certainly it was one of them). The teacher went to them and conveyed them his appreciation for a celebrity’s birthday. 

And then he casually asked the girls, “Do you know when your parents were born?” which silenced them all. Most of them, I am sure, did not know their parents’ date of birth. 

Last evening, I attended one of my nieces’ birthday. It was a decent gathering of family members and friends and relatives. 

Now people of my generations or a generation before that would know that celebrating birthdays is fairly a new culture in Bhutan. But it is gaining popular by the day. And some day in future our younger generations would assume this was always a part of us.  

Most of us in Bhutan (especially those born in the villages) don’t know exact dates of our birth. Back then our parents had little or no knowledge to record the event. Later our health officials ended up interpreting wrongly, the lunar calendar dates to Gregorian calendar. In lunar calendar, days or sometimes even the months skip or repeat; thereby making it difficult to get the exact day. 

For instance, my mother claims that I was born on a Sunday on the 10th day of the 12th month, but when our health officials drafted my birth certificate, they recorded it as February 10 of that particular year. Later on, when I looked up, that day happened to be a Monday. And my cousins, who were 7-8 months older than me became several months my junior. 

I know my story may not be unique for majority of Bhutanese are by default born on January 1. Of course, it is a memorable way to begin the New Year! 

Today, we can possibly record even the exact second or minute our children are born. 

We did not even remember our birthdays, but today's children do not forget it. That's why our children would grow up celebrating their birthdays. And parents would end up spending more and more on them.  

Today, some birthdays have become so lavish that they could even feed a village for a week or two. Some parents arrange their children's birthdays in expensive hotels. 

But again, we live in a pompous generation. We may not have enough to spend on our parents' sickness or conduct rimdros or have no money to support our siblings’ education, but birthdays are big exceptions. 

I think it is okay as long as we do it genuinely, with open hearts and not being so vain about it. Welcome to Birthday Generation! 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Alive and kicking

This feels like ages since I last posted anything here. That shows how inactive I have become on my blog. It is such a pain to let it go empty, day after day. And I am sure that all bloggers share the same sentiments.

I have attempted to blog about something for a long time now, only to find myself failing to do so. Maybe that is my laziness. But sometimes, there is nothing new or interesting to blog about. Topics are crucial. As far as my idea of blogging goes, a post cannot be a mere record of personal events - everyday affairs - although there can be blogs about such topics and interests. For example, the one I am writing now - has nothing about anything in particular,  besides citing some personal excuses.

Bhutan is going through yet another interesting era in that we have just had our third parliamentary elections and the new government is in place. I take this opportunity to welcome the new government and a new set of cabinet members, the speaker of the National Assembly and th…

Our throw-it-away culture

Like all grandparents, my late grandma would call food 'tsampa rimpoche' and any fuss made about it would invite everyone's sneer and scoldings. Food is always treated with respect and is never wasted. "If you waste food in any manner," she would admonish us. "One day food will discard you and you will go hungry." 
What remained from the previous meal would be turned either into porridge or sometimes leftover rice would be dried in the sun. The dried rice would then be fried into puffed rice and consumed with cups of suja. When there was so much food left, especially during big events, leftover rice or kharang would be mixed with a small amount of yeast and brewed into ara.  
The only thing that I can vividly recollect from my primary school days is how we would be hungry most of the time. Food we were served was hardly enough to tickle our throats. We would be sent home only once a week on Saturdays and that was our opportunity to replenish our popcorn s…

Utpal Academy - Bhutan's first All-girls High School

Welcome to Bhutan’s first all-girls school. Isn’t that wonderful news to all our parents? Certainly, as a parent of a one-year old daughter I am excited about the coming of a school exclusively dedicated to the needs of girls. Our girls need special treatment, which we can for sure entrust the responsibility to Utal Academy, Paro.
I really like the name – Utpal – in Buddhist world, Utpal is another name for lotus flower, which is believed to grow from mud and yet blossoms into a beautiful and majestic flower. It stands for purity and many deities are depicted holding flower Utpal, more prominently Jestusn Dolma, the Goddess Tara. Symbolically, it also stands for the transformation of our girls. What an apt name for the school!
The Principal’s message posted on the academy’s website promises providing our young women an “opportunity to participate fully in a wide range of extracurricular activities to develop skills and qualities that will lead to successful and fulfilling life.” That’s…