When you’re in your mid-thirties and still single, you have no other option but to love kids. By that time, most of your close friends or relatives in your age group have kids of their own, so you gotta stay in the game and act like you love kids in order to blend in. :)
Whether you like it or not, all your office water-cooler conversations or weekend hangout with friends now revolve around topics on diapers and pre-school admissions, and you shake your head wondering whatever happened to the good ol days when the topic of conversation used to be just about breasts, not breast feeding.
At work, my fellow Co-Founder and partner of FITH Media Sumeet just had a baby boy, and his life changed forever every since :) And another close friend Abhilash our Art Director is expecting his first child next month. Bloody hell, we singles are becoming a dying breed day by day.
Outside work, things are pretty much the same too. Just this Saturday, I was invited to a birthday party by my dear friend Daniel. It was a combined birthday party for his daughter (4 years) and son (1 year).
By the way, this was not my first kid's birthday party. Back in Mumbai too, I had been a regular invitee at various children's birthday parties too. A kid's birthday party is not exactly a Spring Break kinda party, if you know what I mean.
Remember how much you used to look forward to birthday parties back when you were a teen? Oh yeah, that was the shizzle back then. Birthday parties back then meant having the time of your life, painting the town red, experimenting with stuff and having a memorable experience you’ll remember for a very long time. Sometimes, I still think I’m a teen deep inside.
I’m not going to give the clichéd old "Age is just a number" line by NKOTB (oh snap, did I just quote NKOTB?) but the reason why I think I’m still a teen deep inside is because a part of me refuses to grow up. While this may be a good thing if one is developing products meant for this particular market segment, it kinda leaves you out in the lurch when you’re with your own age group.
So yeah, coming back to Daniel’s birthday party for his two kids, I was a bit apprehensive about my role and responsibilities, especially since he asked me to come early before other guests arrived to help him with the arrangements and preparations.
Daniel had been an awesome friend of mine. He’s one of the few people I became friends with through my blog. He had been a regular reader and commenter of my blog since 2006. As I have said many times in my past updates, blogging sometimes help us pick the best of friends because it brings out a connection even when the two concerned parties haven’t met each other personally. We just feel comfortable and build a bond with that other person even if we’ve never met him or her in real life, just because we read his/her blog updates all the time.
On the day of the birthday party, another close friend and blogger "Not Good" aka "Blackest Red" Samuel (Sanga) picked me up from my apartment. When the two us reached Daniel’s place (we were the first to arrive), Zodini, Daniel’s wife, immediately handed us our tasks - Sanga was to help with the kitchen work and preparing food while my responsibility was to hang the balloons and look after the kids!
See, that just shows how much people value your usefulness :P But I made sure I did the best damn job of hanging up balloons. Check out my balloons yo. I’m pretty damn proud of my work. :)
Check out the symmetry and alignment of each balloon above! I calculated the placement of each balloon using Pythagoras theorem divided by a Fibonacci series of higher order so as to derive the perfect Euler’s equation of complex analysis while taking into consideration the speed and velocity of wind at that moment. But does a child cares anything about that? Nah, all they did was rush straight to the balloons and burst them. See, this is why I hate kids :P
But yeah, you have to love them or else you end up being a social pariah :D But all jokes aside, I love the kids especially little Jonathan as he and I spent a lot of quality time while the "adults" were preparing the food…
The daughter on the other hand had just woken up from her afternoon nap, so she was grumpy as hell. Best to leave her alone :D
While I was hanging the balloons and babysitting the kids, Sanga was busy helping with the food preparation...
As you can see from the photo above, he was busing grinding the salad... He could move his wrist up and down really really fast... definitely looked like a man with a lot of practice... somebody who would do this every day, from the time he woke up to the moment just before sleeping... I'm talking about grinding food by the way, you filthy mind...
Daniel, Zodini and Sanga made the salad including awesomeeee "Vawk lu bawl" which is a Mizo delicacy made from pork.
The rest of the food were ordered from a Manipuri caterer in Kondhwa.
And then came that dreadful moment when hard physical labour was required and there were no signs of any youngsters around. In our Mizo community, in any social gathering, we usually delegate the heavy physical work to the youngsters. That is something we all went through while growing up. But that day, the "young" dudes had not arrived yet, so it was up to Daniel, Sanga and me to do the dirty job of transporting the rented chairs from the vendor. And so the three of us walked across miles carrying 10 heavy plastic chairs each back to Daniel’s place. That moment made me realize how unfit I had become. It also made me realize I was no longer a teen. :(
Soon, guests started arriving. I never imagined there would be so many Mizo families and children living here in Pune. Like I said before, I’m still new to Pune and don't know most of them, so I was just sitting at a corner by myself while the rest of the guests socialized.
And then it was time for "hunserh" - a short speech and prayer to thank God for the wonderful occasion.
Once this was over, it was time for the cake cutting ceremony. All the children screamed in excitement as the cake was brought out...
After this, the adults sat around talking to each other while the kids played together.
This was quickly followed by dinner time as it was past 8PM already. Some of the guys fooled around with the camera, like for example this useless Foster who wasn't around when it was time to help with the food prep or heavy lifting, and only showed up when it was time to eat...
...whereas people like me were busy coordinating with the food preparation...
Even Daniel's non-Mizo friends really enjoyed the food that was made that day. Some of them found the taste to be a bit "different" but nevertheless ate their fill.
Here's a couple of pics I took of the food, which, as mentioned earlier, was made by a Manipuri caterer in Kondhwa.
Time to eat for the hosts too. Looks like there is no rest for a mother even on her kids' birthday party!
Hard to eat with these two popping up every now and then to take a photo... They seemed to be in really high spirits... They're Pune's version of Kelkang Kal I guess. :P
After dinner, when most of the guests had left, it was present opening time!
As we ended the day, we took a few more pics together here and there, so as to remember the moment.
And so that was the memorable birthday party organized by Daniel and Zodini. In a way, I got to meet many of the Mizo families residing here in Pune so I don't feel like an outcast anymore. And surprisingly, when I was introduced for the first time, many of them asked, "Hey, aren't you DP Colney's boyfriend?" Dayymmm having a celebrity girlfriend has its perks sometimes.
Much thanks to Daniel and Zodini for managing to pull this off. Throwing a birthday party for 50+ people is by no means an easy task.
All in all, I would like to end this post with these photos of little Jonathan who somehow managed to find my hidden empty coke bottle... :D :D :D
So until then, take care y'all.