Apr 9, 2008

To Wish or Not to Wish

(I used this script for completing my Project 2 of Toastmasters. Had a couple of goof-ups while delivering the content but managed to win the Best Speaker prize for this one :-). Do read through and leave me your valuable comments)

Valentine's Day, Women's Day, Mother's Day, Doctor's Day, Grandparents' Day, Send-A-Hug Day, Bubble Bath Day, Respect Your Cat Day - browse through the internet or walk into a nearby novelty store and you will find almost every day of the year tagged as some interesting, sometimes bizarre day!!! Do these days really add cheer to our lives or are they merely money making gimmicks of the commercial world around us? To wish or not to wish, is the question.

Are you a Valentine's Day critic or do you love it's 'love is in the air' feeling? Do you care to stop by and wish your family doctor on Doctor's Day or do you prefer to munch down an apple and keep the doctor away? Do you appreciate the idea of having these designated days? Do you need to have these designated days? Till a few years ago who cared about all these days? I've asked myself these questions often and probably so have you!!!

Today's consumers, like teenagers are a confused lot. Extremely vulnerable and easily exploited by the media. Television, radio and print media are giving bloated publicity to these special days and events in their own interest. So far they have been successfully exploiting us.

TV serials and reality shows ensure such days and events get coverage. It is interesting how they pretend to connect with their audiences whilst they are busy cashing in on their rising TRPs. In Bombay, I've seen the Times of India selling print space to its day-struck readers to convey their wishes in print. You'll get to see 2-3 pages of crammed up greetings on most of these days. Just imagine... Valentine's Day morning and you're wading through scores of sweet nothings that are best kept private.

All this media hype has definitely left a strong impression on the minds of the youth. We tend to attach more importance to these coined days than to our festivals and cultural events. When it comes to Diwali or Pongal, I’m curious about its origin and history. When it comes to Women’s Day or Daughter’s Day, I don’t really care about their origin. For me, it’s more an opportunity to expect designer wear and diamond accessories!!!

Special days and events are heavy on the wallet too. But as long as the money is taken care of do we hesitate before getting those roses and rings at a premium? A special occasion say some… mindless consumerism say others!!!

Days like Friendship Day and Rose Day are a big thing on college campuses. They can create quite a psychological impact on young minds. Just go back down memory lane and you’ll most likely find yourself sulking about how you did not get as many Friendship Ribbons or Red Roses… unless of course you were the reigning Rose Queen or Mr. Popular!!!

Specialized treatment for some could also create a feeling of being left out for some others. For example, doctors get truck-loads of cards on Doctor’s Day… imagine how you would feel if you were a paramedic, compounder or personal assistant to a busy doctor!!!

There’s a lot of hysteria around these days. To be a part of the crowd or not is a tough decision to take. The retail industry has exploited fatter pay packets of the consumer by endorsing these events. Hotels and resorts come up with trendy ideas and packages to celebrate special occasions. Shrewd florists, greeting card and gift shop vendors – they all just add to the commercial chaos around us!!!

So should we put a stop to all this? Well, maybe not. There are two sides to every coin. I also look forward to these events for a variety of reasons.

They give us so many more opportunities to celebrate – so many more avenues to express our feelings. Forgetful husbands often bear the brunt for forgetting their wife’s birthday. Women’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to calm down your angrier half!!!

Days that recognize specific professions have an interesting pull factor. Vocational courses could attract more students – imagine having Plumber’s Day or Vegetable Vendor’s Day!!!

Another positive out of all this is the booming retail industry. Income generation has become a lot easier for smaller players like flower farmers and suppliers. A lot of employment opportunities are generated. Including chances for idle politicos, self appointed moral police and thugs who go about vandalizing flower shops and hotels!!!

Celebrations to me are a way of life. To celebrate or not is a personal decision. What and how to celebrate is also a personal decision– these should be respected. Special occasions and days can be celebrated in a sober way too. It’s the thought that matters... we do not need to be thinking out loud to express our feelings just because everyone around does it. Do it your way – is what I feel is best!!!

And here’s something interesting. Today, the 8th of April happens to be ‘Paint a Picture of a Bird’ Day!!! I’m all set with my drawing sheets and paints. Go grab yours quickly… coz tomorrow could be another special day!!!


S. Ravi Venkatramana April 9, 2008 at 9:30 PM  

Dear Priya,

Very well written article. I don't know where you goofed up. Given you astute behaviour, I think you would've covered up well even before the target audience realized it.

On the lighter side, you missed out on a few important people in our daily life for whom we need to celebrate and earmark days - bus driver/conductor's day, auto-rickshaw driver's day, chauffeur's day, tailor's day, barber's day (must for every man), beautician's day, traffic constable day, newspaper boy's day etc. I can keep adding to this list, but it will exceed the size of your blog post.

As you have mentioned, it is up to an individual whether or not to celebrate a given day. I follow a certain principle in life (which is worth not more than two cents) for most of what I do. (I will mail you separately).

I wish to quote Shakespeare, the author you like the most - "To be, or not to be, that's the question". You can write more soliloquies to keep up the tradition of your favourite poet/author.

To write or not to write - well, that's another question ;-)


Priya April 10, 2008 at 9:53 AM  

Thanks for the comment, Sir. I'm not a big fan of Shakespeare. I got some help from my Toastmasters mentor for that line :-)

Riishi April 11, 2008 at 9:06 AM  

To celebrate, or not to celebrate,should be a personal prerogative.

To write or not to write - well, that's your choice again. :)

Priya April 11, 2008 at 9:24 AM  

Hey Riishi,

Thanks for visiting my page. And about the comment... right said :-)


Karthick,  April 12, 2008 at 2:37 PM  

Nice post. Keep it coming.

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