The birthday cake!

I’m a big believer in celebrations and the more over-the-top, creative, yet frugal – the happier I am. Someday I plan to follow in the footsteps of my grandmother and learn baking and bake our own family cakes. But till then I have to rely on the services of others.

I am a sucker for doing things the same way or in other words – love the traditional approach! So last year, I ordered at JustBake. Though the cake was good, it was a little disappointing as it wasn’t as well-made as the one pictured on their website. But still for the kids, the cake rocked. They loved it! And showed their appreciation! (Bless them)

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This year around, I am again ordering from JustBake. Only this time instead of a monstrous 7 kg cake, I’m ordering two cakes – a 3kg one for the morning party with her classmates and a 4kg one for the evening gala with all her/our friends.

I’m just thrilled with the cakes and hope they turn out as good as in the pictures.

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The first one, we’ll cut in the morning. The party theme is the “Three Billy Goats.” But since we couldn’t get anything remotely goaty or farmyard like, we decided to go with these “roses in a green meadow” type cake.

Also helps that her morning frock, have the same colours of green & rose.

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The second one is actually listed as a wedding cake and not a children’s cake. But the cake is so identical to her dress – the same colour, similar roses and sugar pearls – that I had to have this one.

I actually wanted the theme “Kabulliwallah.” But within a few discussions, we realised it’ll be too complicated and boring a subject for kids (Now you know what I’ll plan 9 years later). So we next thought of “The Jungle Book – Mogwli.” But then again -trying to have a skit or a puppet show – would be difficult. Just imagine the characters! So, we then decided to go with “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” The playschool owner’s cousin had already staged this puppet show earlier. So the theme, colours, everything got switched within a week of the birthday.

And here we are! So will post most updates of the party to which the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” graced their presence with.

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Birthday up-ahead! LL turning two!

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Invitation in line with the party theme of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”

Munchkins is turning two this year! And I can’t believe it myself. Its been quite a momentous journey, with her philosophy of “happiness being the most precious commodity.”

Seeing munchkins grow up is bitter-sweet. I remember the little baby who fit in my lap. She’s now half as tall as me. Each physical change has brought with its own memories. At her current height, she’s still able to play horsey on mummy’s legs. She can still hide inside the last shelf in the cupboard – Oh! Sorry! I meant the enchanted cave. We can still play “Open the Gumaiyo” with empty packaging cases. The game consists of munchkins trying to hide inside a carboard box – with the mummy folding and unfolding the four sides as we play “Open the Gumaiyo” and “Close the Gumaiyo.”

Gumaiyo – a word which my daughter uses everyday at least a dozen times – we are sorry to say we still don’t know the meaning of. We have no idea if its a verb, noun, animal, food item, human. In fact, my friends, relatives and other baby-ma well wishers have confessed themselves to be as baffled as amused by “GUMAIYO.” Its pronounced, according to the best authority in the world – its sole proprietor my daughter – as “GUMAAAIYOOOO”!

I think the enchantment of these words will disappear once she learns to talk – which is why its so important to enjoy children at every stage.

குழலினி தியாழினி தென்பதம் மக்கள்
மழலைச்சொல் கேளா தவர்

(“The pipe is sweet, the lute is sweet,” say those who have not heard the sweet lisp of their own children)

So yes, its her birthday week. And the sweetest sound I will hear is her voice!

Incredible Decors Pondicherry

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(Image courtesy – Incredible Decors, Pondicherry)

I love every aspect of entertaining – the fun with people, cooking the food, decking the house….for many of our family celebrations I used to be the unofficial party decorator. I still remember how I decked up the place for my grandfather’s 80th birthday celebrations.  I was just recovering from a minor surgery and was being generally petted and feted by all. So as part of the family’s efforts to cheer me up (though I didn’t need any cheering up being quite happy with the streams of delicious food and piles of awesome books coming my way) they got me everything on my long, much-needed list of craft supplies. So with streamers n piles and piles of velvet paper and shiny paper (craft terms and items only to be found in India) I set out to make the place sparkle n glow.

I made loads of silver n green n red paper flowers and strung them all over the house with the streamers at vantage points…Someday I guess I’ll even scan images from our old photo album and put them up….And boy was I peacock-proud n pleased when people asked my grandparents if they had got some professional to do-up the place for them. And even as I head towards my 30s I still get enormously excited at the thought of how a little bit of flowers, streamers, balloons and oodles of creativity can transform your-everyday space into that magical world of celebrations.

So, I was really happy when I came across these gorgeous interior sets created by the event management team at Incredible Decors, Pondicherry….they are so the last-word in opulent, grandiose Indian luxury wedding celebrations. I would really advise you guys to check out some of the incredible sets they have created, as they are quite a feast for the eyes.

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In India there isn’t too much of that mingling with the crowd and visiting each table to talk with the guests. Most Indian weddings are quite formal affairs with the reception stage being the central focal point. Guests often have to line-up for nearly an hour or so as they wait their turn to greet the happy couple. Of course guests might also prefer to feast first (given that the average Indian wedding has a minimum of 30-50 different dishes – who wouldn’t want to?) before greeting anyone – but still eventually they will have to head back to the stage if they have to have that one customary photo shoot with the couple and the gifts. So the make-shift stage has to be quite large n sturdy (can’t have guests crashing through the woodwork) and as grand as possible as it reflects on the financial success of the parents and the social ambitions of their kids.

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The weding reception also has to be quite grand for another reason. In India most weddings are held in the morning or afternoon so that they meet with the approval of the family pundit’s idea of an auspicious time. Now given the normal run of work, kids’ school, traffic, etc, the average Indian householder would never be able to attend or celebrate any wedding. Attendance at the real wedding is quite low (given the ungodly, sleepy-sleepy hours they are held in) as the only people who can be forced at gun-point to attend such ceremonies are the super-close near n dear ones. So to accommodate the schedules of all the others – who come under the category of friends, relatives, colleagues, acquaintances, the neighbourhood “Jones,” creditors, plug-uglies, etc – wedding receptions are held in the evening.

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Most-people give the wedding a miss – the wedding sometimes being held in an inexpensive mandapam or in the nearest, available temple – with not too much thought being given for decor or flowers other than providing the groom n the bride with their respective bouquets and garlands. But the evening reception decor is a different world all-together – it has to be the biggest; it has to be the grandest; it has to be the best.

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In the case of Indian Christian weddings, attendance is almost as good as the follow-on reception as they are mostly held in the evening, say 4-5.30-ish.  At Christian weddings (given that most Indian Christians are not too bothered about checking horoscopes or an auspicious time)  most friends n colleagues get  that often-needed, one-hour permission from work and manage to crash at the wedding by the time the bride decides to walk down the aisle with the man of her choice or her parents’ (as the case largely might be) to the tunes of the “Bridal March.” Once people have attended the wedding they don’t feel too bad about hitting the food trough before going n greeting the couple standing on their grand-wedding-reception stage…also it gives one such a sense of virtuous superiority to be able to tell the other not-so-punctilious wedding guests what the bride was wearing and how nice the church was decked up.   So even at Christian weddings, the reception stage is usually a much grander affair than those flower-decked-arches and confetti–in-the-air affairs in church.

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And also since many Indian weddings even till date have the practise of writing “Moi” (cash gifted to the newly-wed) – one feels like one’s money’s been well-spent when we step into the grand world of receptions and can survey the flowers, the tulle sarees draped as curtains or to form bowers and more often-than-not compare it to the  decor at the previous weddings attended.

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Another funny aspect of Indian weddings is that sometimes the wedding reception is held the night before the wedding. So basically you meet a whole host of people who “Wish you happy married life” and for all intents and purposes you stand next to a guy who everyone greets as your husband – but he’s not quite…at least not till the passage of a few more hours.  And you even have nice lovey-dovey shots which the photographer insists on – Sexy man!

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Apart from making your D-day perfect, Incredible decors Pondicherry also help celebrate the special moments in the lives of our wee ones. I love the decorations the team has put together for kiddies’ birthday parties. I especially like the idea of how they have used smaller balloons to create flowers (stored it away at the back of my mind and you can be sure I’ll use it at the next event). I also like the idea of draping tulle to imitate pillars. Really nice!

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Sigh! So much gorgeousness! So much creativity! So now you know whom to call for that next big event and make it bigger, better and larger-than-life!

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