I had to go to a friend's son's birthday party this weekend. Clueless about what to get a 9 year old, I decided to stop by Toys R Us and simply pick up whatever gizmo is the latest rage with 9 year old boys these days.
Then I got really late because of various tiny mishaps at home so as I wearily made my way to the train station near my place, I decided to walk into one of these local stores near the station..those very desi-looking "All-purpose" gift stores that have all kinds of wares. I really didn't expect to find anything there, but decided to give it a shot. I was super-thrilled to find this. When I was a kid, one of the neighbour kids (also featured here) had this game (his dad got him from the US), and I remember going to his house to play it with him all the time. It is a two person game where each one gets to place all kinds of war-ships (Tankers, submarines etc.) on a grid, and the other person has to guess the placement and effectively take the ships down. It was so much fun! The whole flood of memories came back- of me running off to Tinku's house, envying his fancy american game, and us playing enthusiastically and keeping score. Later my dad showed me how we could play it using paper and pencil even if we didn't have the fancy board set. It wasn't as much fun of course, but still worked. :)
So I happily picked it up and bought some gift-wrap paper to wrap it in. I asked the guy if he would lend me supplies so I could wrap it there. He was a sweet desi guy that instead offered to wrap it up for me, (Remember the good old days when you walk to the roadside store and the "uncle" wraps up the present in this loud ugly "marble" paper, free of cost??? :)). Of course I had to pay for the gift wrap here but at least there was no "Gift wrap section"on the 12th floor where you leave your gift, pay $10, get a receipt, and have it wrapped in all kind of fancy paper and put in a big ass paper-bag (another $2) , all to be torn apart by the kid in a matter of seconds. This desi uncle neatly cut only as much paper would be necessary to wrap the box, nicely wrapped it up and also offered to hold back the rest of the paper for me so I could pick it up later as I was going on the train then.
I was super kicked by this little gift-buying experience- such a contrast to the time I went to Toys R Us to pick my niece a gift and was just totally overwhelmed with all these choices that I had no clue and wanted to run out of the store.
The star gift of the evening, however, was this gizmo a friend got the birthday boy. Poor little battleship cannot compete with these for sure so I know that my chances at being "cool aunty TGFI" are fast dipping, instead I'm pretty sure I'm getting slotted into "Weird boring aunty TGFI". :/.
In other news, I came up with an awesome strategy over the weekend. Allow me.
In telugu weddings, one of the rituals involves the bride sitting demurely inside a basket, while her maamas (mother's brothers) lift that basket. When my sister got married, ten years ago, she was a demure slim young bride, and my uncles did this quite effortlessly.
Ahem, enter TGFI. I think I have just got my ticket out of a traditional wedding ceremony! My plan is to stuff my face until I get to India next week, and the parents drop all plans of traditional wedding after taking one look at me, in the best interests of my uncles.
What you think eh?