After the sumptuous birthday lunch before the siesta we decided to present gifts to the birthday boy as later in the evening their would be too many guests. That afternoon Sudhir Bhai must have received enough shirts to last him the entire year. Also presented to him by one of his friends was a unique bouquet comprising of flowers and miniature bottles of liquor, I wonder why! As the photos of the mini event got shared instantly on the family group in WhatsApp, the Mumbai people couldn't help but feel disappointed at being left out.
Post the well earned siesta after an event filled morning, it was time for another Dahanu ritual, to hit the beach!
Mummy, Papa, Aditi, Manish along with the kids, Akshay and me headed out in two cars while leaving the Karandikar sisters and Swati behind for helping out Sandhya mavshi with the arrangements for the evenings function.
We reached the beach just in time to catch the last glimpses of the sun before it set in the Arabian sea. A leisurely stroll from beach no. 2 to beach no. 1 (two ends of the same beach very uncreatively named by us for convenience of communication) brought us to the concrete steps which act's as a boundary between the natural beach and all the man made gastronomic treats on the other side.
From the colorful gola stalls thronged by youngsters to the well lit bhelpuri stalls frequented by elders to the ordinary bhutta stall, this place typifies everything associated with a chowpaty.
We went straight to our favorite bhaiyya jis stall to gorge on some mouth watering sev puris. Bhaiyyaji from time immemorial to me has been serving delicious sev puris on his small make shift stall which he carries on his head all around the town. We cousins have a record of downing close to 20 plates at one go which we try to better every time we are here. However today the record would hold as without foodies like Mukul, Kaanchan, Manish, Jui, Rhea or Rohan there was no chance of challenging the record. The moustached Bhaiyya ji was in his usual jovial mood as he served us amazing but spicy sevpuris.
Satiated, both body and soul, we headed out to the house where the guests would have started coming by now for the main event of the visit.
Back at the house, the veranda was filled with cars indicating arrival of guests. The living room had metamorphosed itself into a happening party scene with a well stocked bar. The huge swing had given way for many more chairs to accommodate all. As we entered, it took me a minute to grasp the scene.
There were scores of people scattered everywhere most whom I knew and some which I didn't, the ones I knew had stared greeting the others who had accompanied me to the beach while the others looked at us with expectant eye's that someone would make a formal introduction. Everyone was busy greeting and meeting everyone and that's when my attention was drawn to the loudest corner. It had to be the three youngest of my cousins; Ananya, Rhea and Kaanchan.
The Mumbai gang had arrived finally. As this thought occurred I searched for the guardians of the three cousins who would have got them here, my Mama and Mami; Kailash and Chitra. Mama, animated as always was right between the oldies, being their favorite while I could trace Mami to the dining where she would have probably gone to greet my aunts.
If arrival of new family members over last two days created a wave (sin wave) of excitement and merriment, arrival of Mama and Mami always creates a tsunami! Full of life and voluble they fit in perfectly with both the generation of family. They also brought more 'spirit', literally and metaphorically, to the household.
This family get together had two more sub plots of celebrations other than the primary 60th birthday celebrations of Sudhir Bhai.
Rhea whose birthday had just passed and Ananya who would have her birthday in a few days, both were reaching a milestone where both would earn special rights. Rhea being just turned 21 was now eligible to have drinks legally whereas Anvaya who would turn 18 and entre adulthood would be eligible for voting.
It was the worst kept secret that the main attraction of today's celebrations were gonna be the birthday cakes. Four cakes in all, one each for Rhea and Ananya and two for Sudhir Bhai. They were specially made keeping in mind the likings of the person who was going to cut it. Accordingly, Ananya's cake was a book of magic, directly out of Harry Potter with a magic wand and a spell written on it. Rhea's cake was an imperial crown of the Queen of England. Sudhir Bhai's first cake showcased a sleek black motorbike, reminiscent of the 'java' he used to trudge along the entire town. But the beauty of the cake lady inside. As you cut the cake length wise each portion would have a $ sign in dark cream. The 'richness' of the second cake lay not only in its taste but also in the skillfully designed beetle car, highlighting Sudhir bhais love for machines.
4 cakes meant crooning the happy birthday song 4 times in perfect chorus which only alcohol can induce.
The fun and frolic went late into the night. My lasting memories of the evening, clouded by the high spirits were of loud laughter at the silliest jokes, Akshay and me taking 'breathers', aunts getting drunk, heated discussions, delicious food and my heart wishing- God bless my family!