It’s all my fault! For making a guy who didn’t believe in celebrating birthdays into someone who wants surprises on his special day. Unlike every year before, this year, I hadn’t made any grand plans for Dave’s birthday, while he kept telling me what his wishlist was (a trip down nostalgia lane for him) – Early morning trip to the Sunday book bazaar at Abids, breakfast at Taj Mahal, Biryani for lunch and round-off the day with some drinks at Coco’s or some place like that. Dinner really didn’t matter…There was only one problem with the plan (actually 2, dragging myself to Abids early morning was an impossibility, but we’ll ignore that for now), it had no space for meeting friends. So I explained to him that in that grand plan, we would have to make space for our friends who were already inquiring on what plans we had for the day. The control freak that he is, he then sent a wishlist to all the friends for his, “Surprise Birthday Party”. Among the wishes were that no one should buy him anything, but make or perform something, even if it took just 5 minutes to put it together. He wanted to come home to music and friends at home. Wanted his favorite songs playing and so on. In case the folks needed any help, they should contact the Program Manager, Me. No one responded to that email, and I was afraid that he had asked for too much. Then as we got closer to the day, he kept reminding me to plan for someone to take photographs, play the music and be the bar-tender (he is the DJ, photographer and bar-tender at almost all of the parties). So this was going to be a tough act to follow. At times like these, delegation becomes imperative, so I sent a playlist to one friend, so she could download songs, designated another one as the official photographer, another friend as the bar-tender and just baked two cakes and did the shopping (it’s the least I have worked at any party that I hosted). My cook was going to cook dinner and my friend was going to bring my cook home.
The friends arrived 30 minutes before Dave did, so we quickly practiced a song that we would sing when he walked in, and we did. And I’m positive I saw his eyes turn misty. Then our bar tender handed him his drink, while the playlist blared in the background. So there was eating, drinking and two of us put-up a dance performance to a medley of songs. While we were boogieing the night-away upstairs, one of us was hard at work downstairs in readying things for making wine. Yes that was going to be his gift to Dave. We tried to pull him up into all the dancing and revelry, but failed. He sterilized all the equipment and devices that were going to be used for the purpose in hot water, clingfilm-wrapped a coffee table and got down to work, chopping grapes.
Before we churned the wine
Then he got us to sterilize our hands with hot water and churn stir the wine to mash the grapes a bit (of course we hated him for it, who wants to do all that at 2 am in the morning).
After all that it was cling-wrapped and stored in a cool place.
Where everyday, I had to take off the lid and the cling wrap after sterilizing my hands and the spatula and stir the wine for exactly 2 minutes for 21 days. After all the drinking, dancing, wine-mixing and much revelry, the party wound-up at 4 am. Oh yeah, the birthday boy also cut two cakes, one dark and nutty chocolate and another fair and fruity one and a lot of the cake got eaten (I don’t know if it was the bad food, or the crazy dancing that made us so ravenous, but we ate the cake like pigs).
We crashed and after a late brunch, L, a very dear friend (who stayed over), drove us around. We stopped for a chai at Dave’s favorite chai-bandi and ate a decent meal at Chutneys at 5 in the evening. Went to a bookstore and asked Dave to pick whatever he wanted and then we stopped at a Cafe for some coffee and instead of Coco’s stopped at Salz for dinner. That was magical. One of Dave’s favorite Pink Floyd number was playing when we walked in. Later a singer came by and sang some great numbers and sang Creep by Radiohead on Dave’s request. We had some Tequila shots, good food and a terrific time. Instead of a trip down memory-lane we had created new ones for him and had given him a song that’ll bring a smile to his face and feel special every time he hears it.
As for the wine, it was going to be a lot of hard work and commitment which I wasn’t sure I had. It’s a long story and deserves another post or two.