Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kids Shids tey Chicken Khurana

At the very beginning, let me salute every fond Mama or Papa who has gladly suffered their kids’ birthday parties year after year - armed with a grin and a jar of Tiger Balm.

For me, it has been the same old story for the past 19 years... I have gotten all gung ho about celebrating the b'day of one or the other of my kids. But as D-day/B-day came near, my gung-ho-ness levels had fallen rapidly... and by the time the day had got over, I had been left wishing that I was elsewhere - maybe some serene place where wild dogs were tearing me apart, or a slobbering monster was boiling me in hot oil...

Because whenever I think ‘Kid’s Birthday Party’, a nightmarish slideshow flashes through my head: I am surrounded by about 253 open mouths – all yelling chaotically choreographed yells of ‘Auntie more cake’, ‘Auntie juice’, ‘Auntie toilet’ or some such thing. There are kids crawling out of the woodwork and tumbling out of every cupboard. And the noise!! 2-3 hours of non-stop, incredible decibel levels of NOISE! When the attack finally subsides, I am left with confetti strewn all around, unsightly coke and food stains on the sofa, maybe a few broken chairs or curtain rods... and of course, a bunch of recycled gifts.

3 years ago, I almost swore off kids’ parties of any type – after being under siege for more than 24 hours, by my daughter and her two friends who had come to spend a day at our place. Back then, I had come home from work to find that the three 9-year olds had massacred half of my wardrobe and cosmetics, left 3 huge depressions on my bed after having used it as a trampoline (WITH my high heeled shoes on, from the look of it), and used my best perfumes as air fresheners – spraying them indiscriminately all over the house.

So last week, when Ananya asked for a birthday party, I thought I would be smarter this time around, and take her out with a handful of her friends. Minimise collateral damage and all that, you know.

It was one of the MOST feather brained ideas I could have come up with. When I had asked her if she wanted to go for a movie with a few friends, the number I had in mind was 3, or maybe 4 kids. Gross miscalculation – I had neither factored in the pester power of siblings nor Ananya’s generosity when it came to handing out invitations.

Saturday, 10th November arrived. And so did the kids – all 10 of them. No last minute no-shows (as I had half hoped)!

After they had stuffed themselves with home made namkeen and murukku (courtesy, my ma-in-law), loads of gooey chocolate cake and coke, we left for the multiplex to catch a movie. We had barely reached our seats, when a couple of kids piped up, ‘Auntie, Coke aur Popcorn?’ Of course! After all, it was all of 20 minutes since they had eaten! Rama (one of the parents who had accompanied me) and I shushed them, saying, ‘Later.’ But we knew we could not stall for too long.

And I learnt an important lesson in life... the hard way. Never, EVER take a gang of kids to watch a movie with a leitmotif of food... and farts. Luv Shuv tey Chicken Khurana is an enjoyable movie... but NOT if you are watching it with nearly a dozen kids seated in the row behind you. Everybody knows that kids turn into cola-and-popcorn-processing machines even while watching a regular movie - imagine what would happen in a movie where there is constant banter about food! And the less said about kids' affinity for fart jokes, the better.

Still, it was a novel experience! I don’t think I will ever again watch a movie where every fifth line spoken by an actor is punctuated by a dismembered voice muttering, ‘Auntie, khana kab aayega?’ behind me. And when I was not experiencing some spectral being breathing down my neck (quite literally), I was running outside to fetch water, or food, or haranguing the assistant at the food stall outside to hurry up with the food and save my life!

Finally the movie ended. And it was time for – what else, more food. This time around it was burger meals at a fast food joint. When the kids were ordering, I was certain we were ordering too much. 40 minutes later, looking at the cleaned up plates, I wondered if we had ordered too little...

Anyway, the party finally ended after dropping the kids back home. Ananya left to continue her party – at a friend’s place. Just as I was about to  change into my night clothes and fall upon the bed, my son asked which movie we had been to. “Luv Shuv tey Chicken Khurana,” said I. “Chicken! I miss chicken...,” said the lad, “Can we go out and get some... now?”

It was 10.15 pm.

But it was no point trying to... err... chicken out. There was to be no escape from food (and yes, chicken) for me that day!

45 minutes later, we were at a neighbourhood pub. As Amartya devoured chicken seekhs with gusto, I sat sipping on some warm cognac, my brain in a ‘time out’ state.

It was peacetime - after a one-day frenzied war. I felt content. The kids had enjoyed themselves to the hilt. (And though I simply hate to admit it in public, I kind of had a good time too!) My daughter, of course, was thrilled to bits with the party. 

And that, I guess, is why we Mamas and Papas of the world do it... over and over again, every year. Sure, it’s a lot of effort... but ultimately, that’s chicken feed when it's your child’s happiness at stake...


  1. What a fantastic summary of what a kid's 'Birthday party' really means . I know exactly what you went through as many other parents and empathize with you. For me the parties are also filled with noises of 'auntie - someone took my balloon' , 'auntie- can i have 2 more slices of pizza' , 'auntie - my brother did not get a goodies bag' , 'auntie - can i take this your puppy home?' .... and all that - but I have to admit - I brace up for it and at the last one , I cried because I had LOST my cars keys and could not find them - when I had all my food and decoration stuff in the car - since the party was outdoors ... and then my magical hubby somehow found them .... God knows how or where ! I hugged him with tears rolling down my eyes like a 2 year old who had found her lost daddy ...much to the embarrassment of my 8 year old and her friends -- but some day they will understand what it's like to host these and enjoy them !!! .. as for how that party ended was with a lot oh help from some great friends who just took up all the work and basicaly pulled everything together ... Thank God - he still makes people like that !!!!! And then I enjoyed the party like any other guest/kid .... and as you said - it was all worth it !!!!

    1. Awwwwwwie Vaishali!! Such a cute story! Love it...

      I guess for you its triple trouble, but also triple fun!!! I just can't wait to meet you guys, yaar!!

      And you are right, during kids' parties, hubbies turn into magical elves... I missed mine during this particular birthday party, as he was away on work. :(

  2. heheheehehehehehe! awesome awesome! :) kikli kaleer di, hat gayee sukhi ki, bachchen kare pareshan ji, kare na parwah ;)

  3. I hope you being to see a pattern in my tours and absences? Samajh Aya? For all my courage and confidence that I claim - I am much humbled and petrified of these terrorists without boundaries and causes and with the most lethal of weapons - innocence! As far as I recall - you have always done well and at rare times done a Ronald Reagan / Georgre Bush on them and while at most times your comic and benevolent act gets them hooked. By the way you invite this on yourself. As far as I recall, Ananya's gang just loves coming over at the smallest excuse - school project / dance practice and what ever else - and guess who always takes over as the manager / MC / Didi - YOU who else?
    Actually given a choice I like being there but invisible :) and admiring you in full swing - more excited than the kids and more kiddish than them, and actually willing to fight too - thats you. Let there be more such days.

    1. sound like a fond Papa... and I don't mean to Ananya :-p

  4. Well the ways of celebrating B'days have changed. We during our primary school days felt excited and elated with the thought of dristributing chocolates to our class mates and above all class teacher. But the main celebration used to take place in the evening in company of parents and their colleagues and colony / para friends. Never had a liking for cakes but for bengali ethnic delicacy like khejurer gurer payesh ( rice blended with sweet sap of the date palm tree)and Rosogolla.

    Our parents also had to bear the brunt of our demands every year and most of them used to get fulfilled. Yes, probbaly our wish list used to be much shorter as compared to our kids. But this does give us an experience if not less similar to that of an event management.

    The kids now a days are enagaged in so many activities that they hardly get the time to enjoy their childhood. Hence such celebrations also turns out to be very refreshing for them.