Few weeks ago, I got this thought of throwing a surprise birthday party for Murali. From the moment I thought about it, the plan was just forming in my head. (I guess I am just good at planning birthday parties 😉 ). His birthday fell on a Tuesday. I didn’t want to host a party on that day. Instead, I thought about doing it on the weekend before the birthday. Saturday would have been ideal. But then I realized, I would have to run around doing the decorations at the party place and take care of Abhi and Achu. Plus, what would I tell Murali about where I was in the afternoon (Not that he would question or doubt 😉 )? So, I moved it a day earlier. Friday evening. Perfect. As usual, I will have nanny coming in on that day to take care of Abhi and Achu. I can get out of office earlier and get the decorations etc. stuff done. I debated on the place a bit, but quickly decided on the community center in our apartment complex. Its convenient. Especially with kids. Perfect plan, so far.
Few days later, I told P about the plan. She was going to be my partner in crime for the event. She agreed readily (We are all for celebrations anytime 🙂 ). Next, I told her about my plans about the time and venue. She agreed to that too). And we started talking more. I had this idea in my mind but I wasn’t sure if we should do that. Murali is very fond of Japan. We don’t know why but no matter what the topic is, he brings Japan into picture. If we ask him where he is going, he is going to Japan. If we are talking about where something came from, it always came from Japan. Anything is related to Japan. So, naturally I thought of doing a Japan themed party. That moment, except for few things like lanterns, cherry trees, sumos etc., we didn’t know much about the culture. We looked around but I started to think we can not find all the items easily.
So, enter Murali’s favorite movie star. There is this Telugu movie actor. Very popular, in general. But for all of us, his actions and dialogues are something we LOL at. He can totally beat any law of physics. I don’t remember when this started but Murali used to make fun of him along with us and suddenly he was a fan. For laughs of course. He takes the other side of the argument and that makes the conversations more funny. When the last movie of this actor released, we were stepping out for lunch when our friends called and said they were going to watch this movie. I said it was okay for him to go, so he quickly dropped me and kids back at home and went to watch the movie. See the dedication. Even skipping lunch. 🙂
So, our theme was this Japan and this Actor. Or “Actor goes to Japan”. Few days later, I invited Murali’s best friends U and K (My friends actually). U, P and I met in my first job 10 years ago. After I went to India last year, Murali stayed at U and his wife K’s place for few days. We call Murali and U brothers now and we mean it. They have to see each other now and then or they would start asking about each other. Plus, U is such a nice guy. Very friendly. Any time, he will help you with more than he needs to, even if he doesn’t know you at all. It was very important for U and K to be at the party, so I confirmed with them first. They were all excited too to throw this party for Murali.
I told Murali that we were invited to a kid’s birthday party at the place and we had to go with kids. Our plan was that Murali, Kids and us will come to the venue for that fake-kids-birthday party and all our friends will surprise him.
Later, I invited our other friends. Some of them were going to make it. Some couldn’t. I invited one of Murali’s college friends too. They haven’t met in while (despite living in the same area 🙂 ), so I thought it would be a nice surprise for Murali. But they couldn’t make it. Our guests list was almost set.
P and I started looking at the decorations for the place while U and K took care of the food. Until three days before the event, I couldn’t focus on anything for the party as I was super busy at work.
Monday of the last week, I took the day off and went shopping for decorations. I couldn’t buy anything. I couldn’t store them anywhere. Plus, Murali might see what I bought on my card. So I went and took pictures of what I wanted to buy. Lucky for us, I found something like Japanese fans and lanterns (we were planning to make these at home with paper) at the party store.
Three days before the event, my plan was that P and I will go get some shopping done, but Murali said he was coming with us. Darn. So, I changed my plan. Told him I was going to the Starbucks to read a book and he said Okay. I asked P to take bus home and meet me at the coffee shop. While I was getting down at the shop, Murali asks me if I had the book in my bag. I was going to laugh because I told him I was going to read a book but I didn’t have any in my bag. Lucky for me, I found a book in the car trunk and I grabbed it. P came by the store and we still couldn’t go shopping because Murali was already home and we couldn’t take our decoration pieces home. So, we decided to at least get the cake done. We picked a single layer chocolate cake. We initially planned to get a sumo figure and put it on the cake, but we couldn’t find it anywhere. We looked at all the store we can and didn’t find it. So, we went with our plan B. Inscribing Happy birthday in Japanese on the cake. No one would understand it though. The women at the bakery asked us to get a printout of the letters. We looked on the internet and gave her this. It reads “Tanjoubi Omedetou”. We don’t know if this really means Happy Birthday, but I trust Internet. 🙂
Next day, we printed some colorful pictures of the actor. When P was printing his pictures, printer stopped working. I am telling you, even printer was scared of him ;p . Next, we went to the party store again and bought all the items. U was free and he joined too. We bought the cutlery, fans, lanterns etc. We found this cute umbrella too. I was careful to not go overboard with decorations because, you know, its not a girls bday. We like all colorful decorations, they don’t. We were going home when we heard that Murali was already home. Darn again. Now, we couldn’t carry all the decoration items home. I could neither keep them in our car. Murali would know it. Lucky again. U was there, so we sent all the decorations with him. Cake, food, decorations, guest invites – Everything was taken care of. Next, it was the day of the surprise event. Time for executing the plan.
On such day, anything could wrong. Right? For me, it didn’t really go that way, but, it got tough. Because the same day I had to attend in the afternoon, a team event somewhere. Add to that, I had two meetings in the morning. I didn’t sit one minute quietly that day. I came to work, finished my meetings and then one of our friends A asked me to pick him up from somewhere. I had to drive away from work and the team event, pick him up, go to event and then drop him back again, pick P and the decoration from U and we reached home.
On our way back, P told me some bad news that she may have to go back in the next week. I almost started crying. Luckily A was with us, so he was making fun of the situation and made us laugh. Later, I told P that I wanted to cancel the event and she said she was trying to distract herself with the surprise event. We didn’t change anything with the plan, but through out the evening and even now, I have that worry in my head. I hope she doesn’t have to go back. Not for few more months at least 😦
After we got to the event hall, we started decorating. We kept it simple like we hoped. Pasted photos of actor all around the hall. Murali was at another team party so he wasn’t going to be around home, but we had the worry that he might walk by the hall anytime and spot us. That would ruin everything. Even when we were decorating, we were trying to watch out and see if he was coming home (Few days ago, we asked what route he takes to come home, to make sure we are safe. He said he usually takes some alternate route, but we were worried). I was going to pickup the cake from the store and I saw bus coming. I quickly reversed the car and hid in some parking lot. I had to wait for the bus to pass. Luckily he didn’t come then. When we walked around. we were trying to hide our faces behind the posters etc., so that if he wont see us.
I went home, gave Abhi and Achu bath and got them ready. We planned the event for 7, all our friends started arriving at the hall. Everyone was ready, and then Murali calls and says that he was coming home late. We were all just waiting. Abhi and Achu were cranky so I had to take them for stroller walks all around the place. I called and told Murali we were getting late for the fake kids party. Then Murali calls U and asks him to give him a ride home from where his party was. Funniest thing. Imagine U knew all about this. He was at our place already. He went to pick up Murali and through out the drive he was trying to keep it a secret. Murali was telling him about the fake party he had to go to and U was silently listening. LOL. Then, U dropped Murali off. We were already in the parking lot, all ready then. But, I had to give U sometime to reach the hall. So I took Murali upstairs again. When we were walking upstairs , we saw our friends A and his family coming to our house. Obviously, they didn’t get the message that they had to go the party hall. Kids even came into our house. I sent Murali to bathroom and sent A’s family to hall.
You know what the easiest thing in throwing this party was? An unsuspecting Murali. He had no clue. And he didn’t doubt for a second. Even when he saw A’s kids in the house and the next moment they were gone, he didn’t ask me what happened. I don’t know if I should be happy or sad about the lack of that interest. 🙂 Anyway, we reached the hall and went inside. Someone blew whistles, made noises and everyone yelled at once. Murali was more shocked than surprised. He realized what the event was for, greeted everybody. I also finally met my friend S who came here recently. Our nanny and her family was there too and she helped manage kids a bit and I could go talk to friends and be the hostess. Murali cut cake. Popped open champagne. Food was spicy and good. We didn’t have time to plan any games, so P and I prepared some safe, rapid fire round questions for Murali. Later, we made him dance to one of actor’s songs. He made us laugh so much.
It was fun. Murali was quite surprised. I was very happy to see all our friends. We had a nice time. At the end, we had to quickly clean up and everyone of our friends chimed in. We cleaned up quick. K and I were talking that we are pros at cleaning up after a party. So true. U, K, S and other friend Ki came home after the party. And resumed finishing the opened Wine bottles at the party, stayed until 1 in the morning. Thank God for friends, right. It was such a fun event. Thank God it all went smooth.
So, that’s how we celebrated Murali’s birthday this year. Happy Birthday Murali. May your year be full of success, happiness and good health. 🙂 🙂 🙂