Saturday, 20 June 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to the man who taught me how to tie my shoelaces and sharpen my pencils. He always held my hand while crossing the road, and when eagerly awaiting an approaching wave at the beach. He taught me how to be organized, and always be loyal to family. He taught me that no matter what your means are, you can always help someone who needs it. He gave me ambition and his temper. But he also gave me his sentimental streak and fondness for hindi songs. He taught me that money comes and goes, but family stays.

Happy Father's Day to my father.

Thursday, 4 June 2009


In the last year, surprise parties have become a way of life. It began with an aunt, who was whisked away for lunch and a movie, while her family arranged an elaborate party with friends, family, and exotic food. Suspecting nothing, she returned to a house full of people who screamed surprise. It was fun! So when Ro's sister was due to have a birthday weeks later, we decided we'd give her a surprise too.

Ro's parents were visiting then, so they were let in on our plans. The rest of the family was invited with strict instructions on when they should arrive. We got some party hats everyone, a chocolate mousse cake, and lots of kebabs and biriyani. To be absolutely sure she wouldn't suspect a thing, we decided to have the party on a weekend before her birthday.

On that day, we were all set ahead of time. The guests arrived on time, and when we heard she'd come, we all hid in the kitchen. Rohit let her in, and she came in innocently, asking where Adiv was. A few more steps, and we shocked her with our loud "SURPRISE", and a lot of blinding flashes. She seemed embarassed, but the rest of us couldn't stop laughing. We got her to cut her cake, before everyone settled down for starters and eventually dinner. The party had been a success.

Another month passed, and the next birthday was due. Ro's uncle was turning 60, and the family wanted to give him a surprise. His wife and sons made arrangements in a nearby resort, and again made sure everyone knew when they had to make an appearance. This uncle was having guests on that day, so he generously decided to take them out for dinner. His sons knowingly suggested the resort. So he walked in with his guests, sons, and wife. The steward guided him to the top floor, and before he knew it, he saw a lot of familiar faces scream, "Surprise". He seemed visibly surprised, and was at a loss for words. Everyone ran forward to congratulate him and hand him presents, before his grand nephew recited a self written poem, his grand nieces sang him songs, and his son made a speech. What followed was champagne, a lot of alchohol, cake, and a lot of food. Incidentally, his wife who was celebrating her birthday the next day, also got her own cake to cut. A fun evening!

The family still hadn't had enough! The next surprise was Ro's. His uncle invited us allover for dinner, and Ro innocently walked in on another round of "SURPRISE"! The food was delicious (it always is).

Months later, the next birthday was due. Adiv turned one and we had a huge party for him. The surprise wasn't for him, but for my mother got to celebrate her 60th on that day. After Adiv cut his cake, her cake was brought out. She was mortified, but once everyone began singing for her, it was fun.

Days earlier, Rohit's aunt in Kerala, after correcting a few papers (she is a teacher) thought she was going out to lunch with her son, daughter-in-law, and daughter. Instead, she walked into a hall filled with family who'd come from allover, friends, and colleagues. Some entertained her with stories from the past, after which she cut a huge cake. Though we weren't there, i'm pretty sure the feast that followed was the best.

You'd think this was enough! But another aunt's birthday was due. Fearing such a surprise, she announced quite early on that she wanted no presents and surprises. She invited everyone over for brunch, making sure that there would be no surprise. But the family had other plans.

We all landed up in her house at 7 in the morning. Rohit's uncle and aunt came armed with coffee and breakfast. The birthday girl's daughter let us all in. We went in quietly and stood in the living room. And when the birthday girl wandered into the living room with her cup of coffee, she was welcomed with a huge round of SURPRISE! The cake was brought out, candles lit, and flowers handed out. She was thrilled! What followed was some delicious breakfast. The brunch/lunch still went on as planned.

Keeping in this tradition of surprising people on their birthdays, we are off to Chennai tomorrow. It is my Dad's birthday tomorrow, and he doesn't know we'll be coming over. I'm sure his expression will be worth capturing on camera!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Rohan's Sendoff Party

Rohan's sendoff was fun. After the previous nights dinner (and clearing up), we woke up late on Sunday. By the time we crawled out of bed and ate some breakfast, it struck me that the maid hadn't come as yet. A frantic call to her husband confirmed that she wasn't coming. So I was forced to shrug off all laziness and get to work. Adiv got music to dance to, Ro went for his bath, and I hoped I'd be able to finish washing all the vessels. I gave up eventually, because we were getting late. Ro got Adiv ready, and I cleaned up. To cut the long story short, by the time we were ready to go it was 1.30.

"Hopefully the barbeque is still on", i said. But knowing the family's penchant for good food, we could also be sure that there would be a LOT of it, even if we were late. So when we got there, the barbeque was still on, and more food was still being brought onto the table. The guest of honour hadn't arrived as yet, but everyone was tucking into generous helpings of pork chops and chicken with honeyed-onion salad. Meanwhile, Nisha was bringing out Alexchayen's potato skins (with huge helpings of bacon), buns (home-made), fish (with an unusual, citrous flavor), Lathukocchamma's Shepherd's pie, Maekocchamma's spinach and corn bake, mutton curry, mixed salad and saffron rice. The table was full, and once we were done with lunch, a few plates were pushed aside for the desserts. Lemon meringue, apricot mousse, and cheese cake! Without revealing too much, I will just say I had more than one helping....of each!

The highlight of the afternoon was the entertainment. After a full meal, just when most people were settling down comfortably for a nap, the kids decided to start a band. Instruments were handed out, and everyone began playing. Mrinal gave this music some tune with his flute. Eventually the group settled for dance music. CDs were taken out, and one was selected. Then all eyes were turned to Adiv. Everyone was waiting for his twists.
Adiv who is usually oblivious to people staring at him, now seemed very conscious. He lowered his eyes, gave everyone a coy smile, moved his hip once or twice, and then gave up. The family decided to encourage him by dancing along. Soumtro, Mrinal, Alexchayen, Lathukoch..everyone began moving to the beat. Adiv merely smiled and ran for cover. He wasn't going to perform.

The day wasn't going too well for him. Except for Mrinal, the girls were playing games he didn't want to play. Shalaka suggested they play "marriage marriage", and Tia took out her makeup kit to dress up the girls. In turns she put on lipstick, eye shadow and rouge. Yana was the first one to get dressed up. Then Trisha, who was very excited and willing, though not very sure about what eye shadow was. Shalaka went last, and she finished her new look with a pair of funny glasses and a brightly colored dupatta. The girls then posed for pictures, before Mrinal decided to get creative with the makeup. He gave himself a black eye and then went upstairs and returned with more makeup. This time he looked like he'd been beaten up purple, blue, red...! He definitely has the talent for an alternate career.

The day ended with some tea, after which we set off to get a new rug and cushions for Adiv's room. That's another story.