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Birthday Mayhem

Posted by RB Kollannur on October 3, 2008

(Disclaimer: The following incident is fictional, though it borrows heavily from couple of unrelated incidents that happened in the past three years)

The painful birthday bumps. The gruesome reminder that you are getting older. The annoying insistence of your friends to give a party. These days, it is rare for people to associate a happy memory with their birthday. The only solace you get for a birthday is the gift. But even that is in danger of accompanying the Alaskan Moose on the endangered species list*. In short, birthdays are no longer the cherished moments of happinedss that you long for; at least when it is your own birthday. Luckily, it was my roommate who had the misfortune of becoming an year older recently.

It was a clear night sky few hours before the midnight, not a star in sight (?). We took it as a good sign and started off for the bakery to get a cake for the “surprise birthday party”. After all, the onus of buying the cake fell on the roommates. Midway to the bakery, the heavens opened and a heavy downpour ensued. What followed was a mad scramble to the bakery while we were drenched to the bone. No sooner did we reach the bakery, the rain stopped on cue. If it was in a day, we could have seen a rainbow smiling on us after soaking us head to toe.

Cursing the wretched luck, we wrapped up the cake and were just about to leave when the electricity went. Quickly, we went to the next shop to buy candles, birthday candles, that is. We decided to get numerical candles. (There would have been way too many candles to fit on a single cake). I asked for “Two, seven”, which my roommate promptly misheard as two sevens. What followed was an interesting conversation between my roommate and the shopkeeper, repeating “two, seven” till they finally understood each other. Bagging the candles we were about to leave, when another of our roommates (There are five of us in our apartment) called up and told us to get drinks. My roommates needed no excuse to drink alcohol and since it was a birthday, there was no stopping them.

Fortunately there was a wine shop (In Chennai, wine shops do not sell wine, they sell alcohol) across the street. But there was a large puddle of water blocking the entrance to the shop, thanks to the one minute rain that we had while on the way (Chennai roads, sigh). My roommate carefully tread across the puddle, made it to the shop, bought five bottles of beer and brought it carefully one by one back outside. With the last bottle in his hand, the remaining four and the cake in mine, we started off for the bike we had parked not far off. By the way, did I say it had just rained, there was no light on the streets and the roads were a tad too slippery? Before we knew it, my roommate slipped on his feet, dropping the bottle, breaking it. A bemused cop watched over him, wondering why all of a sudden someone chose to touch his feet. All said and done, we took the remaining four and the cake and the candles back to our apartment, without any further casualty.

That is, until we reached home.

We have a nice refrigerator at home that we rented on a six month lease. But, that was over an year ago. Now, it takes up half of our electricity bill and makes an entire freezer of ice everyday (See below). We have a sneaky suspicion that the person we rented it from has abandoned it, worried we might sue him for the extra cost. In a hurry to keep the bottles chilled, my roommate thrust one bottle into the freezer with all strength he can manage. I think it will suffice to say that my roommates were satisfied with the remaining three bottles.

Moving on to the next day. We finally managed to get the birthday boy to throw a party at Moonrakers (In Mahabalipuram, outside Chennai). One of us was keen on going to Mayajaal (which is on the way) preferring its food court over the sea food at Moonrakers. So, we set off on three bikes to Mahabalipuram. Since it was a long journey, one of us (The one who wanted to go to Mayajaal) recommended we fill our tanks to a certain amount of fuel, since he had been to Moonrakers few times. Trusting him, we filled it up as he said; only to later realize the fuel was just enough to take us to Mayajaal. So, we finally went there for some starters, cursing our roommate all the way, while he hitched a ride to get some petrol. Finally, we were back to our road trip to the temple town, after a one hour delay. The rest of the trip went uneventful, except for a punctured tire or two on our way back.

That wraps up a delightfully miserable birthday. Until next time, if I live to survive this post.

No bottles of beer (or moose) were harmed in the process of writing this post. The ice filled freezer, in case you d ont believe me.

* Moose does not seem to be in any endangered species list, but if Sarah Palin has her way, you never know.


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