Last year, I was too pooped on V's birthday to organise a party. I had meant to throw him a nice one, what with it being his first birthday with the brat, and him also turning thirty, but The Bhablet was only a month old, and had been up all night (as always) so I was barely awake that day. I remember sneaking out to buy him our birthday cake* and I seem to remember three white crysanthemums that he stuck in a lovely wine bottle we use as a vase, but that was pretty much it.
*We have a tradition of splitting a Cakes/Kookie Jar 1lb truffle cake 50-50 between us on birthdays.
This year, we had just got back to Cal, and the flight had been late and V celebrated his birthday by sleeping all day and my present to him was that I let him. I had bought him (us?) an HP PSC earlier this year, and that was supposed to be his birthday gift this year, but you know, I don't feel a birthday gift is a birthday gift unless it's gifted on your birthday. Anyway.
I had planned a party this year, with all of his friends who were in town, but Proof rehearsals made me postpone it by a week. And last Saturday, we finally went ahead and had the darn thing. Whew! Since Jiyon had also had his birthday since then, we had a double birthday party. Money is currently a little less of an issue, so I ignored V's grumblings and spent to my heart's content.
We had Barry and family, here for the vacations, and Jiyon, and Dr. D and his wife. We also had Anindya and Arindam, old colleagues of his, and Shuktara and my brother. It was a bit crowded but all quite nice. Food was Chinese from Kim Li and J got the alcohol. We had prawn chowmein and chicken and duck and shredded lamb and crab claws, so altogether quite satisfying. Arindam brought the little bit of Absolut Vanilia he had left over and a bottle of wine, while V opened his bar from our own supplies while we waited for J to turn up with the Antiquity Blue and some Smirnoff. A far cry from our Uni parties, I'm thinking. There were soft drinks and juices as well.
Anupam (The Bhablet's godfather and a kung fu expert) got the cake, a 2-pound truffle cake from Cakes. I had been worried it might be too small but it sufficed, even providing enough for a late night snack for those who stayed the night.
Anindya and Arindam turned up next, and I borrowed Arindam's car-and-driver to fetch the food. The Bhablet had been cranky all day, so I picked him up in his party clothes and set off. It was only while I was waiting at the restaurant that I realised that I hadn't brought him any water and that his feet were bare. I guess I'll never be one of those spot-on mothers. Sometimes, I wonder that The Bhablet survives us. (And at other times I wonder that we survive him.) It was a good hour and a half later that we got home, even though Kim Li is only a ten minute drive from our place. Saturday night rush, I guess.
Barry, his wife and daughter had arrived. His wife was looking very pretty. Their kid gets cuter every year. V's smitten silly, but so what else is new? He was smitten the afternoon we went over to see her in the Army hospital nearly three years ago and I don't think has recovered since. He's such a sucker for little girls with attitude. Anyway, so The Bhablet and I reached home and the food was brought in behind us. Only one packet was dropped, so it wasn't too bad. I handed over Rahul to his fans and spent a hectic 15 min setting out all the grub.
I had spent the whole day cleaning the house from top to bottom. Because, you know, we have friends who would poke fingers into corners and never talk to us again if they found a speck of dust in there, right? Right. Why else would I suddenly decide to dust under the bed and behind the cot and rearrange the living room? It certainly couldn't be because I had nothing better to do, I know. I have a lovely all-white Corelle dinner set that my parents gifted us at our wedding. I did get out all the glasses we have, set them out for the maid to wash and wipe, cleaned out trays, hunted down tray-cloths and beautiful FabIndia dinner napkins and clean dusters and wanted to bring out my lovely FabIndia coasters, only V wouldn't let me. He wanted to use his tatty old CDs. By the time I reached the Corelle stuff though, I was bushed. So I didn't bring out and clean all that; I consoled myself by setting out all my pretty glass bowls and my cutlery and all the tumblers and whiskey glasses and wine glasses and shot glasses. And we ate out of paper plates. That's the thing about parties chez nous -- you never know what you'll end up with.
(Please note that all these things are my stuff. The tatty CDs we use as coasters are V's.)
Dinner was set out at 8.30 but eaten a good two hours later. I had foreseen that and that's why I went for Chinese. Easier to heat and serve than biriyani, thank you. In between The Bhablet had his dinner of egg-curry and rice. Drinks were flowing freely and J was stuck in traffic, so there was plenty to keep us occupied. (Such as thinking of imaginative ways to curse J for taking so long with the drinks.) Oh, and I drank. One drink, which lasted me the entire evening because I absolutely had no time to have it! Either I had a Bhablet grabbing at it or I was doing stuff.
V drove Shuki and Barry and Co. home at 11.30 p.m. Dr. D and wife, and Anindya and Arindam left around the same time. Dada and J stayed back to make a night of it, while I put Rahul to sleep. V came back and was delighted to find the drinks and adda still going strong. I came down and changed into my ancient yellow maternity nighty (it was only J and Dada, come on) and joined them. I finally went to bed a little before 3 a.m. but when The Bhablet woke me up around 4.30, I found those three men still at it. Some strong words from me sent folks scurrying. I don't know what they were thinking, because Dada was supposed to go pick M'pishi (our aunt) up at the airport early on Sunday morning. Which he did.
It was a great party and I want to remember all the details. How Chinky daintily ate her noodles, how cute Rahul looked in his yellow shirt-and-shorts, how Barry played with R, how Dr. D. kept a low profile but still managed to entertain, how Dada and Mrs. Dr. D ate up all the crab claws and looked guilty afterwards, how V railed at Arindam for getting only a little bit of the Absolut, how Anindya grinned and was his usual charming self. The last time we threw a party in this flat was our house-warming party last April. That was a year and a half ago. I'd nearly forgotten the excitement, the planning, the working out of what will go down well with everyone. Or as close as possible. And anyway, that party wasn't the best ever. We had invited all our friends and the two groups didn't quite gel.
But this party, it rocked. As you can see from the photo. And I was so wonderfully relaxed all through, even when I absent-mindedly poured two different dishes into the same bowl and had to fish out the Chilli Duck from the Lemon Fish (and nobody even noticed). I didn't mind R's crankiness or any of the hundreds of little annoyances that usually ruin my mood.
I'm already planning my next one. A kebabs and paratha affair. I just need an occasion, now!