Surpriiiise!

I hate surprises. I really really do. Well fustofall, unpleasant surprises are no-brainers. But I am one of those people who hate pleasant surprises as well. If flowers arrive without warning, I sniff suspiciously wondering if a burst of soot will hit my face. When an unrecognized voice calls me and chirpily asks — Guess who?, I scowl and reply — No, I won’t. But those are just the tip of the iceberg. Or rather, Adnan Sami’s nose. The ultimate test of human tolerance, comes in the form of that most special surprise of them all — surprise parties thrown by desi married couples.

Now now, before you stomp off angrily, think about it. I am sure it has happened to every one of you at one point or the other. For you married folks, I am sure you have gone through it when single, but you are now married, switched parties and have quickly become the perpetrators of this crime rather than the victims. So nah. No sympathies for you.

A random married male friend will call. Let’s call him Rakesh. He probably responds to other unflattering names as well, but we’ll get to those later. It is Pooja’s birthday. I am throwing a party for her, he will say coyly. You musst come! You sigh silently. And then, building up enough excitement in your voice you say — Ah, how nice! But you can’t mention a word about this. It is a surprise!, he will add. Argh. An unwanted secret. Just what you need. Yet another triviality hogging your precious brain space. Sigh. But wait. The party is being hosted by Nisha aka Ms Efficient Party Planner (EPP) who usually makes a mean gaajar halwa. And with a carrot like that, how can the bunny not chomp? So, you dutifully get the needed details. As you hang up, he threateningly adds — Remember, Pooja shouldn’t know.

But Pooja will know. She will definitely know. Not only will she know, she will carefully pick out an outfit to contrast perfectly with the cream-colored upholstery at EPP’s house. It will also match the green of the palak paneer and the red of the chicken tikka masala on the planned menu. And you can bet your last pre-ordered poori that she will practice her expression of surprise at least seventy five times in front of the mirror. C’mon, no husband who has been married long enough and desires continued marital bliss, will throw his wife a surprise party without giving her adequate warning to look her smashing best for it. The husbands in the audience will vouch for that, yes?

And yet, despite everyone being in the know, the charade continues ad infinitum, ad nauseam. The birthday girl will be whisked off to some local mall while the pre-planning happens. The guests arrive obediently at the pre-determined time. If you are fashionably late, you will have killer looks shot at you by Ms EPP. Why are you so late! Poo and Rakesh are almost here!, she will sternly ask. Damn, you think. Two extra hours of sleep and I still didn’t miss it? But you smile a semi-embarrassed smile, mumble something about the traffic, and go stand in your pre-assigned spot inside the closet.

But soon, the earth-shattering moment arrives and you are dragged out. The lights are switched off along with a medley of sssssshhhhh-s although nobody in particular is making a noise. Random elbows jab at you in unmentionable places which makes you go ‘what the ..’, but you try your best to be polite and not mutter unprintables. Finally, the doorbell rings and a suitably bewildered lady enters with a beaming husband in tow. A disharmony of voices yelp surpriiiiiiiiiise with just the right amount of fake enthusiasm. You make a mental note to go home and send a thank you note to the inventor of earplugs.

But just when you thought it was over, there is more. It is now time for some award-worthy acting. Awww, you guys, you shouldn’t have! This is such a surprise! I never saw this coming, Poo will coo, while clasping her hands to her cheeks in mock shock. You will scour the living room for heavy glass vases to throw as Rakesh narrates the tale of how Poo almost discovered his clever little plan. At which point, the wifey will turn to the hubby. Ohh Rocky, you are such a sneaky thing! she will say and playfully whack him, while you furiously search for a decorative ribbon to strangle yourself with. Eventually, candles will be blown, cake-with-too-much-icing will be cut, greasy food pre-ordered from ‘Maharaja – home of fine Indian cuisine’ will be eaten, and you will discover that the promised home-cooked gaajar halwa was alas, just an illusion.

And finally, your life will resemble the half-empty two-litre bottle of coke on the table that is devoid of fizz and has a lump of cake stuck to it. When the very desire to live has been successfully sapped out of you and you ponder about the futility of life itself, that is when Poo and Rocky‘s surprise party will ultimately come to an end.

Few survive these surprises, and of those who do, fewer retain the sanity to tell the tale. This is one such insane survivor’s story. Read and learn. And be afraid, be verrry afraid.

89 thoughts on “Surpriiiise!

  1. Raj

    You don’t know how happy I am for getting the great honour of being the first to comment here.
    I can empathise with you cos i have seen such storylines in many sitcoms but I am yet to be a part of a surprise party and after your warning, I am verrry afraid.

  2. tony

    Down to every detail.
    Now I know how to torture you if ever the need arises, i only need to surprise you. i rather enjoy such charades and just play out the act. but I am a mean surprise spoiler .

  3. bablu

    Oh ! Thats a truly wonderful post … So this is what a Surprise party is Ha.. I never went to one … But will make sure to skip it … taking your word…

  4. Paddy

    I always thought most of these parties as “Vanity Fair” and thanks for vindicating that feeling.

  5. KJ

    LOL!!!
    perfect!!!!
    hubby’s b’day coming up on 15th, WAS planning to throw a surprise party.
    but after reading this naaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh

    :-)

    KJ

  6. Australopithecus

    We had a different kind of surprise party for a friend. all of us went out ate drank and made merry..and when the chap arrived..we surprised him with the bill….the surprising thing…it wasnt even his birthday….that was teh whole surprise.

  7. loverBoy

    ROTFL. No, it is not just an expression. I am really ROTFL! Couldn’t help it.

    Well, I generally pick up lines that I liked the most or felt were the most funny and quote here. But everything about this post is so damn funny that to quote all those lines I laughed for would be like reproducing the post itself!

    If no one has told you already (which I doubt), you are the BEST. You know what, I gonna send this post’s link as a forward to all my friends!

  8. loverBoy

    Hey [Australopithecus], your idea of a surprise party is sure terrific. Incidentally, a friend of mine is celebrating his birthday this month!

  9. anyesha

    This made my day. I am still sipping the last dregs of my breakfast chai as I write this. In my experience this malady also afflicts the Rahul Verma’s and Kunal Sen’s of grad school…(no offence meant to any Rahul Verma or Kunal Sen who chance upon this…rest assured…I don’t know you). Now RV and KS are random specimens of malehood drawan from the desi grad student sample space..they have never had girlfriends before and tend to overdo everything….it plays out in the same way…infact these guys will even emotionally blackmail their lab mates to come along too (just to increase the numbers!!). totally ewwww, I tell you.

  10. Ujval Gandhi

    Hilarious, dont forget the blame game if something goes “wrong” in the surprise !! Plus, those who cannot fit in the closet are either made to stand on the cold patio outside :) or in the restroom.

    GHE

  11. Sowmya

    Like you said a wife’s birthday party can never be a surprise, she knows its her b’day, she knows the husband will do something spectacular, which he will, atleast for the first few years. He knows she kinda knows and she knows he knows she kinda knows…so no suprise at all!

    Hilarious one! :-)

  12. Gabby

    But slowly and surely this type will be lost to evolution don’t you think? Look at yourself for instance, now that you know the charade, do you think you will ever do this for your significant other or take it well if he does it to you? (Hopefully you wont pick someone who would…but that’s the tricky part & a different story) I don’t think so! Of course, you will also be known to be slightly weird and subjected to “are-they-really-in-love?” kinda looks when your birthdays come along…the kind Mr Gabby and I are subjected to, but that just makes it all the more worth it! :)

  13. VC

    Wait till you reach the stage of surprise baby showers. And this one will be organized by “friends”.
    And unlike birthdays, it doesn’t have date constraints. Imagine the possibilities.
    MWAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  14. Falstaff

    I’ve always thought it would be such fun to throw a suprise non-party for someone. You know, one of those things where you go around muttering under your breath for weeks, steal the other person’s address book and slip it clumsily back into her bag when you know she’s looking, let her catch you making calls where you’re whispering into the phone but when you see her you loudly say WRONG NUMBER and slam the phone down, ask if so-and-so is vegetarian, does she know? No reason, you were just curious, start saying things then bite them off mid-sentence and look sheepish, act like you’ve totally forgotten that it’s her birthday, tell her you’re invited to your boss’s cousin’s place for dinner that night, and that it’s really important she come along, insist anxiously, when her birthday arrives, don’t buy her flowers, or make a big deal (still continuing the I’ve forgotten act), but say things like “Is that what you’re wearing? What happened to that new dress? Not that it’s a big deal, it’s just a few people from work, I just thought you might want to look nice”, keep looking at your watch on the way there, make sure the person has their lights turned low when you arrive, get her to park the car so you can dart ahead to ‘check on things’, then, when you finally get into the house – there’s no party after all! None of her friends are there! It IS just a few people from office! Surprise!

    You see why I’m not in a relationship.

  15. Rajesh J Advani

    LOL! You are definitely crazy, you know? :)

    I love throwing a surprise party, but only if the person you’re throwing it for is not even nearly dressed correctly for it. The best parties are the ones where you wake up the birthday-boy/girl in the middle of the night (so they’re in their pajamas and also generally dishevelled), coat their faces with icing, and then take lots of pictures. And if it’s a guy, there’s the mandatory “birthday-bumps” :D Let them go back to sleep after that!

    Yes, I know. You hate people like me :)

  16. aNTi

    [Megha] Hmmm… You sure seem to be setting up your life the right way. You don’t even have to instruct your better/bitter half as and when the time comes. Just a finger towards this blog would suffice and he/she [ ;) ] will have an instruction manual for life with you…
    Anyways after reading about Rocky and Poo, I am reminded of the times in our hostel. Our parties were never a surprise and the guys would just want us to be asleep at 9 so that they can plan devious activities with the birthday boy out of the way! I still remember mine when I was doused with a bucket load of a foul smelling concotion containing among other things – Surf, Robin Blue, Glycodin cough syrup. And I had to take a shower at midnight in cold water just to make sure i get the smell off me. But I still have the huge bday card that I got, signed by like 100 people [perks of being the most popular guy in the hostel i guess ;)]
    And I also remember one instance when this guy in our hostel, expecting a birthday party walked around the hostel banging in people’s doors muttering “I know you guys are hiding” (obvsly accompanied by fine language) and seeing flashing headlights from the highway on the other side of the hostel and mistaking them of the guys signalling each other! It was hilarious, cos the guys were actually hiding, but they had not planned on the party for midnight. For a change, the party was gonna be at dawn the next day! Funny, no? Btw, who in the hell’s best room would like to be called Poo?
    [Rja] No bumps for gals?? You soft or what? :O ;)

  17. raj

    now..how surprising can surprises get!..esp desi suprises are sure shot flops and even more so if its for a wifey (agreed with sowmya), there are no surprise parties in the whole world which can be more evident than our desi versions :-p there’s always the cuchi-koo husband giggling all through the evening and friends calling especially to say that they will NOT be coming to see her (part of act-2! ), or they are off for a movie(part of the act-3! as if she wont know!!) and ultimately husband shooting sent stuff and ends up like dharams emoticon “maa kasah aahm ye parti seref tere liye hai jaaneee aahhm “…followed by tears (missworld expression ahem and crocodile tears!)

  18. Sriram

    *quaking in his boots/sneakers/chappals* — Scary indeed… but there is solution. Think of it as some kind of ghost hunt. NO NO, you cannot be the ghost. the birthday boy/girl is the ghost. you see the ghost walk through the door, and precisely at the moment you yell “surprise” you KNOw that the ghost knows about your existence and the ghost-hunt. But..what if you just pick-up the ghost and start kicking its butt? now THAT would be a surprise for the ghost, no?

  19. karan

    ha ha…good one! :)
    but don’t agree with the funda of surprise parties being a pain. true, it would take real planning and bluffing to pull off a true surprise, but even if its a pseudo-surprise, nothing wrong with playing your role in a scene!

  20. the One

    The trick here is to yell “surpriiiiise” a few seconds before everyone else (preferably at the moment the doorbell rings, so you’re sure the birthday girl is outside). The yell must be executed loudly, and with enthusiasm. The rewards are immense – not only are you never invited to another of these events, you are also known thereafter as The Person Who Spoiled The Surprise.

  21. Megha Post author

    [Raj] Yesh, you just won the first commenter prize. Don’t forget to thank your pet lizard in your acceptance speech. Are you seriously telling me you have never been subject to one of these? How can anyone be so lucky? What an unfair world we live in!

    [Tony] And pray how has the world wronged you that you would consider doing something like this to anyone? Tsk tsk. A mean surprise spoiler, you say? Now that I like :)

    [Bablu] Ah good good. You will thank me for it one day :)

    [Paddy] Nice to know there are others who share the feeling.

    [KJ] Aww, scared and scarred you, did I? :)

    [Anu] Glad you agree!

    [Australopithecus] Oooh I likes, I likes verrry much. Hope you took along a camera to preserve the priceless expression on friend’s face?

    [loverBoy] Thankoo thankoo! I am happy to be a Bombay bus. And please to thank your friends who will follow your link and read this, as well :)

    [Anyesha] Oooh yes! The grad student surprise party is a unique can of worms. At least half the guests wouldn’t have ever heard of Rahul Verma and of those, at least two-thirds will not meet the birthday boy even during his own party. What’s worse is that their only sighting of him will be after he is covered in cake and has a bruised backside, so they are likely to never recognize him on the street ever again. Leads to interesting situations where a random stranger come to you the next day and thanks you for attending his party, but you have no clue who he is, so you run away whispering ‘psycho psycho’ . Most fun, it is :)

    [Ujval] Ah yes, the restroom is a familiar hiding place. Painful memories from college days are returning. Sigh. And if something goes wrong, the rule is simple – it is never the husband’s fault. Bleh.

    [Sowmya] Yeah, they know that you know that I know that you know that they know. Or something like that. And still the whole drama continues.

    [shoefiend] You are blessed, truly blessed. I could introduce you to Poo and Rocky, if you are feeling particularly left out though? Pliss pliss?

    [Gabby] While I would love to be wishful and say I hope you are right, I know it cannot happen. Sigh. For every specimen like me, there’s a Poo somewhere out there, sulking and throwing a tantrum when Rocky doesn’t throw a party for her, so their tribe will forever increase just like ours. Glad you found Mr Gabby :) And rest assured I won’t be picking a Rocky-type person. The ‘what is your opinion on surprise parties?’ question is pretty high on our relationship checklist and really good grounds to end one too. Call us shallow if you will, but we are like that only :)

    [mani] Glad you liked :)

    [VC] Aha! You sound like a wise man who speaks from personal experience, yes?

    [Falstaff] OUCH! Delicious. Can’t wait to try. And yes, we see, we do see.

    [Rajesh] Yes, we are crazy, we know. And yes, we love to hate people like you. Now that we’ve got those two things cleared up – I could tell you a thing or two about exactly what I’d do with the cake at a moment like that, but since this blog is rated PG-13, I shall resist :)

    [aNTi] Now now, where’s the fun in reading the instruction manual beforehand? We’ll let him gradually discover stuff. By the time he realizes what he’s gotten himself into, he’s so hopelessly in love that it is too late. Hee haw :) And Glycodin? Ugh! And you think Poo is bad? I have bigger problems with Rocky!

    [raj] Ah, the all familiar cuchi-koo husband and Miss World expressions. Looks like you have been burnt badly by desi surprise parties plenty :)

    [Sriram] Oh, there are plenty of ghosts at such parties. When the very will to live has been drained out of you, you are but a pale shadow of yourself wandering aimlessly around the remnants of palak paneer, doing the whole ‘heroine in white saree in a bhoot movie’ routine. At that point, you are no longer in a state to cause any bodily harm to anyone.

    [priyavadan] Poo ko nahin hai pataa, so pleeease, Poo se naa kehna! – to modify and quote a recent Hindi song :)

    [karan] That’s the point, if it were a true surprise, it will be nice. It is the charade that makes it silly. And yes, we do play our role in the scene. We very much do. How else do you think we have so much angst inside us that led to this post? :)

    [the One] Hee haw! I likey! Armed with this new idea, I now secretly look forward to the next Poo-Rocky event. Thenkew, thenkewverrymuj.

  22. Pingback: DesiPundit » Surpriiiiise !

  23. Suyog

    Thyankyouveryyymuch :)
    – For preparing and prewarning me of such parties. Jeez, I am so happy that that i haven’t been invited such surprises exotica. Whats more I am going to forward this post to all my married friends and warn them against having such surprise parties! Ha! smart eh?

    Good writing – hilarious! Keep inking!!

    Suyog

  24. Sriram

    But … but… oh well… did you have any cake atleast? and God… how did you manage to survive the palak paneer? (now now.. wasn’t that classified as an official WMD?) But you see, me does my role verrrrry well. I just call up “to-be-surprised” party on phone adn tell ‘em about surprise party, then call “EPP” and the “gracious surprise party host” and tell them about it. Serves them right for tormenting, or atleast trying to torment me. ;) *I know, I know.. I am mad.. thankoo*

  25. iyer education

    i thought adnan sami’s belly button was more apt example for tip of the iceberg… okay i know that gets grotesque… so i will leave it there ;)

    about the post… madly HILARIOUS as all of your posts normally are… and let me tell you i was a staunch opposer of surprises and this post just adds some more zeal to it…

    no more surprises… all upfront it is :)

  26. raj

    [Megha]ah ! nah….unfortunately i havent been part of any “surpriiiise” parties yet, bt i belive its not so far away fr me 2 be a part(read “Victim”) of one….!!have heard a lot though and a little imagination does no harm ..will it?? :-p

  27. premalatha

    ROTFLMAO

    I hate all desi parties.

    you have not missed a single detail. I like that “shhhh” when nobody is making noise, “palyfully” whacking, “you rocky”…. lol..

  28. Megha Post author

    [VC] Aw, my sympathies :)

    [shub] Thankoo thankoo :) Trust me, the folks in Dil Chahta Hai surely didn’t try the greasy neon-colored cake fed at such parties or they’d eat their words instead of the cake.

    [Suyog] Nice plan that. Maybe we can gradually spread the word and curb this menace! And thanks! :)

    [Sriram] The cake, oh the cake. Too much icing, greasy and glowing bright pink in color. And to add insult to the injury, I will invaribly end up with a piece that has ‘Poo’ written on it. Oh the horror. Gaah. I thought the official WMD at desi parties was navratan korma, btw. Nice plan that, by the way. Should try it out sometime, myself.

    [Shruthi] It does remind you of Sami, no? Thankoo, glad you liked :) And welcome to the blog!

    [Rumpy] I will not get into a discussion about the shape of the tip of the iceberg and how it looks more like a nose and less like a belly-button. I won’t, I won’t, I won’t. So there. Glad you liked though. We have a rocky reputation to live up to after all, if you remember :)

    [KJ] Awww, I aim to please :)

    [raj] Aww, what is the point in my warning you, if you are still planning on being a victim? Good luck on escaping! This post will then have served a purpose.

    [premalatha] Oh thank you! You are a lucky soul to have not endured one, and for your sake, I hope it remains that way. Welcome to the blog :)

  29. jethro

    I’d still rather be in your position than Rocky’s…..you managed to put me off marriage forever

  30. Pingoo

    Ofcourse everyone has their own take on birthday celebration. But cutting cake/inviting friends and neighbors (for the lack of friends) to a party sounds good if the bday boy/girl in question is a kid ! not a 25 yr old grown up …… (fill in the blank) going hehe while cutting the cake. When Rocky brushes some icing on the nose ..she goes…chee po..chilipi ! (mann main laddoos are phooting and phooting and phooting) ..all others go awwwww (thought bubble drifting into Rocky – “kya yahi pyaaar hai ?”). Well.. having said all that, sometimes we have to endure such things, such is life *sigh*.

  31. Hombre de Marte

    Surprise Parties?? Hmm… let me think… yes I did arrange one. And yes, it was for my wife. Wait! Don’t throw the mouse at me… I did not complete it. I did have a surprise party for my wife, but we both were the sole guests. Personally I would prefer celebrating these special days in a private manner. The only surprise there was that I remembered her birthday. (Why would not I after filing so many immigration forms?) Anyway, as said in of the comments, birthday parties sound more appropriate for kids and early teenagers. Well there wont be any surprise in them because kids expect a party, and if they do not see a party coming, the parents shall see a surprise, mostly an unpleasant one.

    Megha, your every new blog tops its predecessor. I have never been to an Adults B’Day Party until today. But you did take me to one today which was virtually real.

  32. gvenum

    Been there and got elbowed real bad. I remember one of my friend shouting at me for breathing heavily while in the closet/hiding room ( ofcourse with so many people breathing down your neck and so much “milan” of odours you are bound to be short of breath)

    The worse part is when all of them are forced to sing the Bday song. You feel the morose shehnai/music programs mourning the demise of Presidents/PM’s are much more bearable. Oh! I almost forgot about the disgusting taste of the cakes bought. For some reason US has the worst collection of cakes. But for my part I would usually add ” Usually the cakes from that store are bad, but this one is an exception, taste so good” and puts a piece in the next person’s plate avoiding eye-contact with him.

    I am glad someone had the courage to mention in public. I feel relieved of all the frustrations.
    Thankoo O’ Hilarious one!

  33. Vinay

    Well.. well.. as Meg Ryan said in Sleepless In Seattle, “Surprises are highly overrated”. I couldn’t agree more. Nice blog.

  34. Jammy

    Well… I’m still single and haven’t yet been invited to any such “married couple” surprise party…
    Am I a loser or wot????
    Anyways, nice post and hope u invite your blog addicts to the “surprise” party that you will be hosting sometime in the future! (near or distant you tell :))

  35. Megha Post author

    [jethro] Ooh, I didn’t know my words could be *that* effective. Now now, as the married folks in the audience will tell you, not everyone throws surprise parties when they get married. Not everyone has to be assimilated into the Borg collective. There is hope yet.

    [pingoo] chee po..chilipi ! and Rocky’s thought bubble – LOL! Touché! But yes, such is life. I may whine and complain and write a blog about it, but the next time the gaajar halwa bait is shown, I’ll be the first happy bunny in line furiously nodding her head. The things we will do for food and friends. Tsk tsk.

    [Rajesh] Hmm. You do realize that the words good and surprise party don’t occur together in our world, don’t you?

    [Hombre de Marte] Ah, yes. See, that is the kind of surprise that I personally think is the best. If I can get serious for a bit on this topic that I have only ranted about in a nonsensical manner so far – I don’t think surprises by themselves are all that bad. I kid about the flowers leading to soot in the face and all that of course, but that is just cos I love dramatics. But on a more serious note – It is the ostentatious display that bothers me. There are some moments that are better shared by just the two people in love, rather than a roomful of people who are mostly there just for the food. I think it is wonderful that two people are so in love that the ‘chee po .. chilipi’ or the ‘Awww Rocky, you shouldn’t have!’ that the wife says is the most endearing thing the husband has ever heard in his life. But it is a private moment, and not one that needs to be played for an audience. So, yes, I agree with you completely. A surprise party where there are just two people present, is the bestest surprise ever. And oh yes, I am glad you liked the post :)

    [PG] Yes, we do reply, so hush. Once or twice we forget and see what we are subject to. Hmpfh.

    [gvenum] Aww, you got shouted at for breathing? :) I quite like your morose shehnai on DD reference. And lets not forget how no two people will say the name the same way in the ‘Happy Birthday dear Blahblah’ part. Much happiness. Makes you give up on music for life. Clever cake strategy though. I am glad I wrote about this on my blog. I am now armed with a whole slew of ideas for the next surprise party I am invited to!

    [Vinay] Glad you agree. And thank you and welcome to the blog. Keep visiting! :)

    [Jammy] Loser? Naah. I have said this before, and I will say it again – Some people have all the luck in the world. What an unfair world we live in!

    [married guy] Hello Rocky! I thought I outlined my problem rather lucidly in nine paragraphs, no? And yes, I’d love to visit a shrink, except the poor sod was also present at the same party, so it’s pretty much a lost cause there. But the thought behind the suggestion is much appreciated.

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