"Oye! It's Ramya's birthday in 15 days!" screamed Snigdha. "Venue will be her place only. No more outings on birthdays. That's becoming increasingly boring now!" Phew! I heaved a sigh of relief. We didn't go through any gruelling voting sessions this time. We'd vote, only to vote again and again and then choose the best of 3, followed by best of 5 and then finally giving up on deciding the venue! Sorted.This post is a part of the contest at BlogAdda.com in association with Badhai.in
"You guys, what are we gifting her?!" That damned question. Sigh. We've been friends for 5 years now. The first year we met in college I remember gifting her a photo album. Bad choice plus bad gift. Why? Here's why:
- Nobody really needs photo albums when you have a digital camera and all your photos are already on Facebook.
- I forgot to remove the price tag.
- I packed it very nicely and she thought it was a wooden case where she could keep her paint brushes.
The next year we all got together and gifted her a lot of stationery items since she was so fond of it. The following year we took her shopping and asked her to choose something for herself. (The best year ever!) The next year we decided to gift her clothes. And this year was not very different from the first. The worst part was that we knew her well enough to know exactly what she didn't want, not so much what she did.
Mission find-her-a-gift-or-die-of-shame began the very next weekend. Snigdha, Shoili and I met in CP and quickly rushed to a CCD nearby. Snigdha was the most organised of us all. She took out her notebook and started scribbling:
- Clothes- Done
- Chappals/Shoes- Maybe not. If she doesn't like them, nope, we didn't want to be GeorgeBush-ed.
- Earrings - She doesn't wear any. But what the hell, we can gift it to her. If we like it, so will she. In case she doesn't, we'll take them back for ourselves.
- Stationery - Given her enough already.
- Bag - She just bought one last week.
- Ganesha idol? - She has way too many of them at home already, moreover it's her 22nd birthday not her 50th!
"That's it guys, there's nothing else that we can gift her," she analysed the list carefully again. "Yes, that's about it. She has all of it, there's nothing we can gift her."
I looked at Snigdha with a You-Cannot-Be-Serious expression. "What do you mean there's nothing we can gift her?!" She shoved her notebook at me, "Look! Do you see that list?" A cursory glance and I realised that we had indeed put down everything that made 'Ramya' on that piece of paper. You might have heard of dead ends, but this was going to be the dead-end of our friendship and our lives if we didn't find anything!
One cup of cappuccino and we were pumped to go out and raid the Inner Circle! Shoili was Snigdha's junior from her hostel. All she knew about Ramya was her face. "Gift her a dress! Or maybe cool electronic items." We both turned and asked her to just shut up and walk like she was invisible to us. Shoili could have best been used as a hanger for our shopping bags. Juniors are made for that kind of stuff.
In about 45 minutes, we had completed one 'Parikrama' of the Inner Circle. A pleasant September morning turned into a scorching June afternoon in an hour. There we were, back to Block B. We started walking again without speaking a word. Janpath. Obviously. On our way, we came across Tantra. Right outside on the window was a T-shirt that said 'State of my mind' with clouds and a broken TV. "That is so Ramya," words flowed out of my mouth as I gaped at the shirt. "Of course, that has RAMYA written all over it!" exclaimed Snigdha. "No wait, that has 'State of my mind' written on it," chuckled Shoili. "Shut up, I know that's what you're going to tell me, so guess what, I'm not talking," and she finally shut up.
That was just 200 bucks. Our budget was 1k. Happy with our discovery, we set off with a spring in our steps to see if we were going to be lucky again. Janpath was, well, very Janpath. I don't know why we thought we'd unearth some rare artifacts there! Half an hour more, and that was the end of Janpath. Experiment failed.
We were walking back like Zombies. Our legs hurt, but our futile efforts pained us more. We spoke little or nothing on our way back and stopped by a corner to catch our breath and satiate our throats with water. Out of nowhere Snigdha had a crazy idea. With a determined look on her face she spoke "I'm buying a CD!" A CD? Like a movie, music, what? CD? Before I knew, she had already bought one. A blank CD. Errmm.. okay.. "I'll make a movie out of our pictures!" Now THAT is exactly what we should have thought of before starting that Dandi March to Janpath. Anyway, it was a super idea.
But hey, that was her idea. What was I going to do? I thought a little and I beamed. Snigdha knew that I had come up with something more. She gave me her Tell-me-what-you're-thinking-or-I'll-hit-you-hard-right-now expression. "I'll bake her a cake!" I exclaimed. "Brilliant!" High-fives were exchanged, half-hugs shared and poor Shoili felt used and abused.
The entire shopping fiasco ended up like a fairy tale. Ramya's birthday was one blockbuster birthday. We cut the cake that I baked, watched the movie that Snigdha created and Ramya quickly changed into the T-shirt we had bought her. Her mother and sister thought we had ordered a customised version of that shirt specially for the crazy birthday girl! We ate, drank, laughed at her, laughed at ourselves and finally realised that the end is always happy.