My grandmother thinks of birthday parties as a new-age drama. Every time my mother called my friends over on my birthday, she would make it a point to tell us how nobody would even remember these occasions in her times, and how people have started to revel in “such useless celebrations” over the years.
I want to take grandmother to the elite private schools of Chandigarh or any other city persevering to be suave and sophisticated, just to see how she reacts on finding out that children’s annual calendar these days is almost too full with important celebration days. These swell schools let no important international date related to any humanitarian cause pass without holding a bash. Unlike birthdays, which come only once a year, these special days are too many and coming in quick succession.
World Earth Day comes on April 22 and World Book and Copyright Day on April 23. Veterinary Day, Malaria Day and Penguin Day all fall on April 25. April 29 is International Dance Day and May 1 is Labour Day. The first Sunday of May is World Laughter Day, and the first Tuesday and second Sunday of the month are Asthma Day and Mother’s Day, respectively. May 12 is International Nurses Day and May 15 International Day of Families, May 17 World Hypertension Day, May 18 International Museum Day, May 22 International Day for Biological Diversity, and May 24 Brother’s Day? Phew!
This is just the two-month calendar of any elite school, for children in the pre-primary and primary sections. One day, the students are taught to respect the school’s ancillary staff by putting up a cultural programme for them, and the next days, they find themselves giving speeches on the importance of laughter, acting in a play to highlight the importance of museums, making cards for their mothers, and visiting hospitals to thank nurses for their selfless service, all within a week.
When they come home, they have no time to reflect on the importance or the need of these celebrations, because tomorrow they must perform a dance to mark yet another day about yet another social cause.
If you thought this was enough, the schools also have Yellow Day, Green Day, Red Day, Purple Day to teach kids the importance of each colour; and Mango Day, Banana Day, Watermelon Day, and Lemonade Party to help them learn about fruits and beverages in a fun way. These distinguished days can be celebrated on any day of the year, since no international humanitarian agency has claimed them yet.
Are you into yoga? If not, there is a good chance that your child might teach you some breathing exercises and postures after school on June 15.
The writer is a Delhi-based HT staffer.