Lets reboot the Indian tradition of forced bankruptcy on your birthday

A Birthday Cake With Candles Burning Dollars
Image courtesy: Sandra Schön

Birthdays are very cool when you’re a kid. Your parents will get you a gift, new clothes and a packet of sweets to distribute in school. Every school kid in India looks forward to their ‘happy birthday’ and some of the spoiled ones have several in a year. Other kids and teachers will give you a free pass throughout the day because you’re a special little snowflake for a day.

Fast forward to when you’re an adult. Calendars synced to Facebook lets the whole world know that it’s your day but you get only a handful of calls. Your email inbox has an automated mail from your bank wishing you a good day, just above the one telling you how abysmally low your savings account balance is and another one telling you how much you owe them. And there’s a text from your friend asking you if you are on the other side of 30 yet. Yeah, real special day. But the real problems start when you head out of the house.

As soon as someone hears its your birthday, even if you’ve known them for like 3 hours, they’ll pump both fists in the air and yell “treat!!”. Heads turn and soon you’re buying a whole group of people lunch or dinner. Then you meet another group of people and go through the same thing all over again. If you don’t ‘treat’ a group, someone is sure to call you a miser, cheapo or uncle. Unfortunately, the credit card company doesn’t let you off the hook because it’s your birthday and neither will your landlord, so you suck it up, embrace bankruptcy and make a note to yourself to take your birthday off Facebook next year.

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