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

    [Megha], ah…yes!..See!..that’s y i wanna be a victim :)….Hombre de Marte put my thoughts …probably mch better than I could ever have…good job budd! and I see it coming coz I am not married n there’s a lot of time before I do get tied down :-p

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Desi “Surprise Parties” were a big hit with us desi grad students. All the free pizza and beer. It meant you didn’t have to cook for the night.

  3. Megha Post author

    [Pallavi] Oh yes. And as you’ll see, there are others here who share our luuuurve, so take solace in that :)

    [raj] Ah, thataways! In that case, you shouldn’t call yourself a victim, you know. And good luck with having lots of them :)

    [Ideasmith] Shoe-kriya shoe-kriya :)

    [Anonymous Coward] Fustofall, interesting name. And yes, I totally agree about the free food angle. My love for gaajar halwa is what lands me in these situations, so I completely understand. It all stems from a willingness to suffer anything for the sake of free food and friends. Food mostly, but friends can sometimes come a distant second.

  4. The Surprized Idiot

    since you mentioned something about not liking surprises, i thought i’ll give you one.

    a very fine post! had great fun reading and chuckling:) havent ever been party to such immensely delightful proceedings and your post makes me feel that i havent lost out on anything significant, esp since the gajar halwa turned out to be an illusion..but what lovely illusion, that..

    thankfully, there are other and better avenues for the GH and we shall stick to them..

    Surprise us with a quicker post this time, and i dont mean one which ends quickly:)

  5. Goan pao

    Surprise is something that i dont like either unless it is some..nah i dont like surprises…
    desi husband wife parties or uncle aunty parties are comparable to scratching a slate with your nails…eww…if you think married couples have it bad…just think of my plight when i attend these conferences at my cousins….if the wives arent complaining its the husbands bitching….these places are what should be termed desi group psycholoy sessions….
    Wonder what fun it would be though if the wife Pooja turns up with someone other than Rocky for the party…now that is one surprise i would love to see…..

  6. Megha Post author

    [The Surprized Idiot] Well this is indeed a pleasant surprise, since I was completely surprised to be taken by surprise and still find it pleasant. Now, don’t hurt yourself trying to make sense of that one. Glad you liked the post and even more glad that you, unlike us, have alternative sources for gaajar halwa. We know what we endure in the name of food, and we wouldn’t wish it upon our worst enemies. Thanks for visiting!

    [Goan Pao] Yeah, they are interesting affairs, for sure. Now now, we wouldn’t want to be witness to any such messy situations with Poo showing up with someone other than Rocky. Like I said before, may God bless the union of like-minded souls like Rocky and Poo. All I wish for is to not be witness to their coochie-coo moments. Thanks for dropping by!

  7. Pranjal


    My first visit on your blog; and what a visit it’s been! Hilarious post! Yeah, been there, done that – the closet, restroom, cake- with-too-much-icing! Haha..

    Thank you very much for that delightful post. Looking forward to more.

  8. prerona

    that is EXACTLY what I am looking for —- ur an angel!

    lol at the surprise parties! another blogger had one recently – anumita :) she guessed
    the last surprise party i had was my 18th birthday – my mom LOVES surprises. giving – that is. such a hard job staying ignorant. i love being surprised – but the catch is – there are v vvvvv few people i love enough to love being surprised by. so i desperately go along … u know like when the alarm rings and u convince urself u cant hear it? ;)

  9. raj

    [Megha] yea :-p ! il wait ….and i’l make sure i blow up the surpriiise…hehe…m waiting 2 b in a silly situation so that I can enjoy every moment of it….:) but def’ly wudnt want it more than Once! In life u know…we gotta experience everything atleast once :-p..and this certainly..ONLY

  10. Ravi

    I remember I was asked to help out in a surprise party for a close friend. But in keeping with the cynical-person-who is-above-these-kinds-of-frivolities image I [tried] to portray at the age of 18, I grumpily hung around and passed time commenting on how lame and juvenile all this was..

    Damn good post ! Especially liked the decorative ribbon, coke bottle and earplugs lines :-)

  11. Neha

    They are a necessary evil in my college. infact I only get surprised if there is NO surprise party. I surprised everyone on my best friend’s birthday *hehe*

  12. Megha Post author

    [Pranjal] In that case, let me offer you my thanks as well as my sympathies. Glad you liked :)

    [prerona] Ah goodie! Thought it might be what you are looking for. Will write up a post about it soon. Been meaning to for a while, and this will finally shake me out of my laziness! :)

    [raj] Well, after you blow up the surprise, you won’t get much of a second chance anyway, so it’ll work out just perfectly for you :)

    [sqrlnt] Aw why? :)

    [Ravi] I totally relate to the late-teen cynicism + angst + anti-social phase of my life when I hated all human emotions :) But now we’ve transitioned to a slightly different mode. We don’t mock the feeling behind it, we just shudder at the ostentatious display of it. The coochie-coos are all fine and dandy. I would just prefer to not be the captive audience compelled to watch it. Glad you liked the post!

    [Neha] Ah, that is indeed the best kind of surprise! :)

    [the Monk] Thank you. Glad you liked! Keep visiting :)

    [kayzmaze] You mean my rant about the greasy palak paneer and chicken tikka masala from Maharaja and the too much icing on the cake wasn’t enough for you?

    [aNTi] You did? I no get? Send again pliss?

  13. Boo

    Good one Megha! One time, my husband invited friends home for my birthday. I ended up cleaning the house in secret trying not to let the guests know that I am cleaning, making starters, paying for the pizza & drinks and then cleaning up after the party when all I got was some lousy chocolates for gifts! That was one helluva surprise party! Yes, I am still married to him. Hes the only son of a wealthy father! ;)

  14. twinkletoes

    dis is my fusssht bhijit to yours blaahg and i felled in lowe ;o)
    oooo i’ve been through the agony of “sur-”prise” paahties too, where you hafta act like a moron and generally lower your intellectual horizons just for free food ( “the things we do for love”?)

  15. Megha Post author

    [Boo] Ouch. Glad you’re seeing the positive side of things though :)

    [twinkletoes] ‘The things we do for love’ .. of food, yes. Glad you visited! We are likings this lowe-wowe bijinessh vairy much so we will act like a happy approving parent – Reema Lagoo style. Pliss to continue your love affair with my blog. It likes the attention and looks forward to running around trees singing cheesy Hindi film songs with you. Ta!

    ps .. nice name :)

  16. twinkletoes

    that song used to make me think” awwww” but now, with da biological clock tickin away, it makes me go “arghhhh”.. but yesssss me being in lowwwwwwwwe with this place, its like a cuppa ishtrannnngg kapi…methanking yous…
    ps: thankoo abouts the naam…me and my friend rechristened ourselves “pinky” and “twinky” a coupla years ago in a fit of tempervary (in)sanity…

  17. Megha Post author

    [twinkletoes] Seeing as she is Pinky, that makes you the brains of the operation? Okay, I promise, no more silliness. At least not until I write my next comment.

  18. twinkletoes

    ooohh,definitely… daats where we got our inspiration phiraam…
    atleast between the two of ush, i was da “brain” ;o)

  19. visithra

    Lol i just threw a highly succesfull surprise party ;) and to date all my surprises have worked ;) i think house parties don’t work – surprises should among close friends only ;)

  20. Ajay D'Souza

    Hi Megha, stumbled on your blog from Indian Bloggers.

    Post was an interesting read, though I won’t totally agree with you on surprise parties.

    We threw one for a friend of ours. Me another pal were the decoys and since we used to hang out with her often, she didn’t guess what we were upto.

    Guess of course, experiences are different and I may have an experience like yours. As usual I will blog it ;)

  21. Megha Post author

    [twinkletoes] Ah nice! Does your friend post comments with the ID ‘pinklepoes’ by any chance? Just wondering aloud. Not to mind pliss.

    [visithra] Ah yes, a genuine surprise party for a friend, I can handle. A fake surprise party with ostentatious displays of coochie-coo-ness is a whole different story :) Nice to know you’ve had success with them though. And thanks for visiting :)

    [Ajay] Thanks for dropping in! My tirade wasn’t really against all surprise parties, it was specific to surprises that aren’t really surprises. I am glad yours was a success though! And while I don’t wish such parties on anyone, I sure look forward to a rant about it ;)

  22. twinkletoes

    dats such a great name(honest!)i should akkks her to do dat!(bullub glows on)… unfortunately she has aksed me to do all da blabbing and posting and bugging ;o)

  23. Megha Post author

    [Twinky] Ah. Hope she likes too :)

    [loverBoy] Well, I am waiting for my next post as well. But it isn’t coming only, what to do? Thankoo for not giving up :)

    [Manoj] Considering that the year is almost over, I am flattered ;) Glad you like. Thanks for dropping in!

  24. dM

    Wooh> I thought such stuff hapened only in the Bollywood arena. I never had a party, forget a surprise party.. I just lazed around the mall. Guess my hubbs has had the experience of these surprisingly silly parties n thus stays away from them. :)

  25. shrek

    Too good, just couldn’t help laughing through the way.. something to ease out my tension for tomorrow’s interview! please dont wish bad luck on me!

  26. tilo

    Megha – used to have this year after year after year.
    Tahnksfully all of my friends are grown up now and have kids and don’t have the time for planning such stupid surprises for their significant others!

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