Rahul's third birthday fell on Saptami this year so we had an early birthday party on the 19th instead. Ma couldn't make it to Cal as planned (Baba fell ill) and the MIL decided she wasn't up to it, but Dada and M'pishi were both in town. Unlike last year, I didn't have a guest list and menu and return gifts all ready about six months in advance. Actually, I only got my act together when I realised I had six days left. Luckily, I'd mostly finished the shopping for the school gifts. I spent a happy night packing twenty-six little glittery sacks with
6 boiled sweets, orange ones
a small eraser
a tub of Play Doh
for each classmate, handed out on the Thursday, their last day of school. At the party on Saturday each kid got (in a glittery paper sack)
6 boiled sweets, orange ones
a mask for some, erasers for others (I was 2 masks short)
a Camel painting kit (12 colour tablets with a paintbrush)
The ages ranged from two 13 year-olds to a nine month-old so water colours seemed like a versatile and comparatively safe gift. Ratul (the 9 monther) got a wee bowl and sippy cup set.
We ordered the cake from Flurys (Giga's gift to her "Dadubhai"):
It was a fantastic chocolate sponge, not too sweet and a perfect foil for the sweet figures. As you can see, there's a sugar train running over hilly country with much greenery around, a tiger, a horse, a rabbit and a fox decorating the scenery, a "mountem" concealing four little chocolates and a jawan (soldier) and a girl doing a Marilyn Monroe in short skirts at the side. Most inappropropriate really, for a kiddy cake, but I loved eating all that sugar.
As MayG pointed out, this was the year that Rahul had been looking forward to his birthday party. He loved the cake and kept running up, asking to be shown the "twain". This is him trying to blow out the candle (a lavender-scented 3 balanced on the "mountem") while brandishing the cake knife. His Ennapishi and Rijudada look on while I balance Ratul on the other side.
I don't know if you've noticed, but my baby's grown up on me. He's a "bada Dada" (big elder brother) to Ratul and very proud of this status although he's quick to state that he's a "chhotto Baby" too in case anyone thought otherwise. He wore the red Superman tee gifted by his Th'amma (Vicky's mum) for the party.
I kept the food simple. Chicken and veg patties from Flurys, cake, juice and chips. And two of the birthday boy's favourites, chocolate wafer rolls and "mishtikola"* (narkel nadu/coconut and jaggery laddus) on the side. To be ended with yummy nolen gur ice cream. M4, we missed you. :) Dipali was there for a quick fifteen minutes at the start of things. Evie came just before the cake was cut and the nicest pics of the party (these) were taken by her.
Rahul got lots of fun gifts although his favourite was probably the bright green Ben10 double decker bus from Ennapishi (you can see it where he's blowing out the candle). He also got a lovely wooden shape sorter from Dr D (father of Ratul the Cute) amongst some cool clothes and chocolates. But the grandest gift came from Baba and Babu (who seriously need to grow up, yo). It was opened at Giga's the next evening amidst much excitement and cries of "Tomis" and "twain"!
The set has three engines, Thomas, James and Percy, a wee tunnel for them to pass through, Wellsworth station to stop at and lots of loops and track changes. The engines are pull-backs and roll their eyes as they go. As you can see, they made Bheblu babu a very happy little boy.
* This note is dedicated to Rimi, who I think will enjoy it the most. And for being the mashi who brought him an early birthday gift after taking the trouble to sift through the books to weed out the ones with American spellings!
Narkel nadu comes from the mishti wala, right? The sweetmeat vendor who walks through our neighbourhood with his dekchi of sweets on his head. Vicky and Rahul are regulars of his, so he comes by every few days to refill our narkel nadu box. This man is fond of the boy, and lets him dip his hand right into the dekchi and help himself. To my eternal indignation, he gave me a lecture on treating children right because they are little gods. As you have rightly guessed, he is a grandfather himself. So anyway, the man and his sweet became part of the whole to Rahul who couldn't pronounce mishti wala right and called him mishtikala instead. From there to calling the sweets mishtikala was a short step. It kept us guessing for a few weeks though, given that mishti kala in Bengali sounds like "sweet banana"!