You are in secondary school. It’s your birthday. You’re leaving the hostel for morning assembly. You’re hair is done. Your uniform is ironed. Looking good, feeling good Of course you are feeling good. It’s your birthday.
All of a sudden, you see your friends running towards you. They are laughing mischievously. One is holding a belt, another is holding a bucket of water. Is that sand in her hand? You are asking yourself when they at once desend on you at once.
Punches are being thrown. You are being whipped. What is going on? You try to say but then one if them shoves sand in your mouth. They are laughing manically, saying “Happy birthday, happy birthday.” They stop their violence and the one holding the bucket empties it’s contents on you. You are drenched. Hair, uniform, everything. You stink of dirty mop water.
The story I just narrated is not something from my imagination. It is something I witnessed many many times in my secondary school days. It was common tradition for people to plan and practically mug, assault and humiliate their friends on their birthday. Their excuse was that the celebrant made their mother suffer through their birth so they wanted to inflict the same suffering onhim or her too. If you ask me, it was just cruelty and I never understood it.
Whenever they so delightedly performed those birthday beatings, I would stand in the distance and ask myself why. In retrospect, I should have stopped then, I should have done something. I should not have been so passive about that behavior but at that time, what went through my mind was “It’s not my business. They are not my friends.”
Luckily for me, I was never really assaulted on my birthday because it usually took place during the holidays. Whenever that group threatened to beat me during my own birthday, I always told them that they would never know my birthday. My close friends weren’t really the type of people to be deriving joy from that kind of behavior. But still, looking back at all those people that had their birthdays ruined, it was just too much of a horrible tradition.
Someone told me, defending their action that at the end of everything, they would give the celebrant a gift so it wasn’t all bad. But really? C’mon. Keep your gift. I don’t want it.
I wonder how that warped tradition started in the first place and I really hope they don’t do it anywhere anymore. I can’t even imagine what I would have done if that happened to me. For my birthday to be ruined bt some ‘friend’? I would definitely fight back.
I would have blood.