Birthday ‘Bash’ … why?

The first time I encountered the word bash was when Birthday celebrations were called as Birthday Bash. I wonder if by the way the word was introduced to me, I can re-frame the sentence to – “The first time I was bashed with the word bash was on a Birthday Bash.”

And yes that sentence makes sense; which brings me to the topic of discussion – ‘Bash’. I want to write about it not because I have done some extensive research on the word or because it like ‘Alright‘ is one of the words which are close to my heart. I wanted to write about it because just today when I was talking with a friend about celebrating another friend’s birthday, I realized and I said, “We don’t use bash anymore. Like, we no more have a birthday bash, it’s Birthday Party now, or Birthday Celebrations. I wonder why Bash is lost all of a sudden.” And therefore this post where I would write, in brief, about bash, like an ode to it.

Okay being an IT professional, let me first introduce you to what bash means in computer jargon. Bash is the name of a UNIX shell, written by Brian Fox, in replacement to Bourne shell. Okay, to people who don’t know what shell means, it is just like this platform that allows your other applications on the computer to run on. For those who still did not get what it is, even remotely, forget that you had ever read this paragraph (or you can always google).

Now coming to what bash means for the normal public. It means to strike someone or something violently. You might have heard lines like

I’m just gonna bash your brains in
-The Shining (Movie)

and many more violent street lines which use the word bash not in a way which means Birthdays, celebrations and happiness. Which makes me wonder, why will someone think of using bash to describe Birthday parties? Why call it ‘Birthday Bash’, when he could have kept it at ‘party’?

Is it because that guy who came up with this phrase never liked birthdays, or did the time when the phrase “Birthday Bash” was used coincided with some gore event of bashing and killing people on their birthdays?
There is this episode in the biggest mythological epic of India – Mahabharata – where an evil king kills any child his sister gave birth to, by smashing him on to the wall of the prison where he had imprisoned his sister and her husband because some forecasting voice from the skies had predicted that one of the child of his sister is going to kill him. I wonder if this is where the concept of Birthday Bashing started.

Anyway, though that was just a random wild thought, I seriously would want this phrase to have a rich history. I know that maybe bash was used just figuratively as a synonym for wild partying, but hey, it would not be less interesting to know that there was some actually bashing involved.

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The two kinds of celebrations I never actually understood

celebrations I do not understand copy

The first has to be Birthdays. This is one kind of celebration that goes back to your childhood when you do not have the verbal mastery to debate and prove to your parents that Birthday celebrations look stupid, utterly stupid. My dad was very obsessed with my birthday, and why should he not be – I was born that day. He used to decorate the whole house and invite more people than what the house and our finances could hold.

However I secretly always pondered over the purpose of all that. They all celebrated and sang for me, as if being born a couple of years from then, on that day, was something I was planning for years and finally could accomplish with marvelously flying colors. They greet you as if I myself, had caused my birth. I honestly believe that if they do want to celebrate my birthday – the purpose of which is also unclear as I was not like the guy who theorized space-time continuum or the man who liberated them from some tyrannous clutches – they should congratulate my parents. They did all the stuff, they are the ones who are responsible for me to happen, they are the ones who had sex. I should be made to cut the cake, feed it to them and bow with respect for making me happen. I understand if my parents are glad for getting a child, but the others should totally be like “Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. P, you have made a wonderful kid.”
Even the people who tell me that they celebrate because it is the day I – a wonderful friend, or the guy who helped them sometime, or something else – was born; even they should be thanking my parents. I mean I understand celebrating my birthday, but I think I should not be the one getting the credits here.

On a kind of a similar note, there is this other celebration in which I should be the one getting the credits but I don’t. It is the one, when you achieve something, like passing an examination, getting a job, or becoming a parent. I don’t know how this is celebrated throughout the world but in our place it is celebrated by distributing sweets to neighbors, friends, colleagues and sometimes even acquaintances.
Why? Why am I giving them sweets? I studied hard and I gave the exam to pass it; I being good at my academics got a job after I cracked the interview, I will be the one to have sex, for a baby to come and for me to become a parent. Should they not be giving me sweets, for my efforts? I mean, think about the poor child who in spite of having a very bad financial background, and no proper facilities, earned a great score in his exams. What does he have to do now? Tell his parents they need to shell out more money so that he can go around giving sweets.

People will throw points such as, these are the moments in which you make other people happy by giving them sweets or throwing a party or sometimes both; so that you can share your joy. So that people will pray for more such days to come, which, in turn, is beneficial for you.
Well let me argue on that point.
I think a man will be more happy if there are people, who care about him, knocking on his door, with sweets in their hand, when he achieves something; than he giving it out to others.
People do all this, to widen their circles, and as a bribe for others to keep wanting more such days which in turn will mean progress for them. This is not a conscious attempt to bribe, but there is a subconscious, telepathic bribe exchanged at such events. And you cannot stop doing these, because we don’t live in a perfect society where relations are easily formed without vested interests. And so we continue to feed those imperfections in our favor by such ceremonies.

I know I am being a very harsh critic to something which looks so pleasant, but that does not mean I am going to stop doing it. Let go of all the imperfections such celebrations imply, and I too like to have a reason to celebrate; but to speak out what I feel is more crucial a need for me than having fun.