Thursday, December 27, 2007

happy birthday

mithi: mama, hurray for 2008. my happy birthday will come again.
me: but mithi, your birthday is in september. that is 9 months from now.
mithi: mama, you need to polish up your english. very bad. how can an english teacher make mistakes? what if your students were to know hmm? very bad.
me: huh? what did i do?
mithi: don't you know that you should always say happy birthday? you should have said, "but mithi, your happy birthday is in september. " be precise mama, be precise.

talking of happy birthday parties of our kids nowadays, the thought of organising one more or sending mithi to one more in macdarlings (that is mithispeak for mac donalds) gives me the heebiejeebies. let me clarify that further. organising one more or sending her to one more in
macdarlingspizzahutunclesam'spizzaUSpizzaspinozapizzaarspoeticapizzapizzapizza gives me the heebiejeebies.

history repeats itself everytime at all these outlets. the same boring pattern follows each time. 25-45 kids assemble, run amock, make a lot of noise, burst the few miniscule wobbly balloons pasted on the walls like poor cousins, scream all over the place, guzzle chilled, near frozen coke (of the cola variety, dahling!), chomp away on pizzas, touch everything around with cheesy sticky fingers, fight over nearly everything--from sitting with one's best friend, to wanting that slice of cake with three orange gems on it just like Riya's got.

the guys at the pizza place make them play the same passing the parcel and musical chairs as though these have high brand value and came with Marco Polo to town. sometimes if the "package" is good enough, they throw in ice cream for good measure. wonderful really. because i am sure most kids are croaking painfully hoarsely at home just as mine is. if you're luckier, your kid will also come down with fever, and whoop like a baboon for the next ten days.

impersonal. commercial. commoditising birthday parties. clinical. monotonous.

yet, people prefer it this way. for three-four big currency notes, they think they can hover around like graceful and composed flamingoes instead of going beserk like plucked hens. (how do they do it? the best i can do to avoid being a wailing banshee is a mick jagger).

whatever happened to homegrown birthday parties where 7-10 children got together at home, ate chole puri or pav bhaji or bhelpuri (made at home) and played indigenous ingenuous games such as hotch potch or treasure trove, etc. [hell! i never had a birthday party till i turned 21 and diane threw a party at Alliance for me much to my "embracement" (as she put it)].

i want to do this each year, and scream myself hoarse trying to advocate such personalised, "motherlyised" parties each year. and lose the battle. fort.troops. cavalry. infantry, everything demolished. the thought of having about 35 boisterous kids at home and some portly mothers drives hubby nuts 2 months in advance. so we are back to square one.


SiD said...

Hmm... well I never had a birthday party (well... not counting those three where the guest list included old relatives and cousins I hardly saw once a year)... and every time I'd go some friend's birthday party organised at their home or some posh restaurant... I'd wish so much that I had something similar... but strangely I never asked my parents for one... I wonder how would it have been if did have one of those 'happy' birthday parties... hmmm...

shilpa das said...

Sid, i never had any either. And I actually thank my parents for it today (mentally!), because it has instilled certain strong values of a certain kind in me which might have been missing otherwise.

Sambit Kumar Pradhan said...

I had a few of those 'home-grown' throughly 'motherlysied' birthday parties at home. Ma used to bake the best cake of the year and I would be embarassed to the core due to all the attention (I was a proper recluse as a kid)And some of our neighbour aunties will cook with Ma the then ubiquitos chole-puris with dahi wadas! Oh to be the same kid again...