I love my friend Suchi. So it is with pleasure that I write about the sweet, uncomplicated little party that she threw for her three-year old, that saw us setting off one lazy Sunday morning for Bangalore’s oldest and most beautiful public space – Lalbagh Botanical Gardens.
The guests were few – family and some friends – perfect for temperamental three-year olds. We brought the kid’s cycles along and were there by 11am. It had been many years since Rohaan and I had last visited Lalbagh – and we were ashamed that this was the children’s first time.
Suchi and Co had found a nice spot and the food was set up on some collapsible tables. A thermos of hot, inviting chai and popcorn were perfect to get the ball rolling.
The kids didn’t need us – or require a single game either. They played cricket, badminton, some football, hide and seek, blew bubbles, cycled, ran around – whew! – and were still raring to go. The adults lolled around on the chattais and gossiped about Bollywood, competed to see who had funnier stories to tell of their attendant spouse, and swore that from now on they would start ‘doing stuff with the kids’ every Sunday morning.
The menu was simple and yumcious. Special mention has to be made of the Cheesy Pasta – read here for the recipe.
The high point of the party though, was when we discovered there were no matches to light the candles on the cake. Suchi tried to convince Arjun that it wasn’t important. In her words – “Just pretend they are there and blow!”
He stalked off instead and found refuge on the closest bench, arms crossed and with the biggest (and cutest) sulk this side of the planet.
Everyone ran around trying to get innocent bystanders to part with their precious match boxes. Anyway, all’s well that ends well. A matchbox was borrowed and the birthday boy was persuaded to cut his cake and blow the ‘real’ candles.Some more play followed and then it was time to go home.
Some foreigners passing through found us amusing enough to take pictures – convinced no doubt, that this must be a typical Indian way of celebrating a birthday.
Little do they know!
p.s. The party was as ‘green’ as the grass we sat on. Paper plates and glasses – with the child’s name written on each glass (thereby saving another 4 glasses per head being used up in the next hour!) was a thoughtful touch. A nice, big, white trash bag hung from a tree – sort of like a balloon – and we left the place as beautifully clean as we found it.
p.p.s Contrary to popular perception of the hassles associated with public spots in India – no one stared too much, no one harassed us, no one intruded. Of course it helped that this party wasn’t in your face, but was a gentle celebration of a very special day.