Friday, September 24, 2010

Birthday Bash!

 For the last couple of weeks I’ve been a bit busy and tied up, I’m hoping some of you noticed, well there were many reasons, but to keep a long story short, I shall blame it all on my, recently turned, 4 year old daughter, thank you thank you. First it was her various infections, I don’t know if it is with all kids or just her that she picks up all the viral and bug infections floating around the city. But the core reason I was tied up, was cause she made me promise her a “BIG” birthday party (In her words), in exchange of her taking her medicines and letting me put her eye drops as per schedule! I dint have a choice you see.
As it is planning a kid’s party is a tough job, now I had to do it as she says! So from the venue to the menu I had to get her approval and then her dad’s, after all he was the financer! As compared to our parties, I think and now I even know, after 4 years, that its more tough to work out their parties, coz in case I miss out on something for my friends, its ok, we are more relaxed and chilled, we meet to gossip not to gobble, but with kids you have to make sure they everything is right for them, starting with the invite, then they have to like the place, have something interesting to do, eat right, and enjoy otherwise all our mehnat (hard work) goes down the drain. Basically they should not get bored and have lots of fun activities to keep them occupied.
After spending so much time and energy on organizing the event, I thought why not share it with you guys and even ask for more pointers to be considered next year while organizing the party again! I also realized that the whole thing with a kid’s party can be just as easy or as complicated as you're willing to make it. Just remember a few simple rules for planning a children's birthday party.
You could start with the guest list, (trust me don’t ask your kid whom all he/she wants, as this can make the list never-ending!)  then accordingly set a budget and also make a list of possible venues available in your city.
Ofcourse this needs to be done first and in accordance with it all your other planning will follow up. Set an amount that you are willing to spend on the party and also allocate funds for all other purposes.
Guest list
You could add as many guests as you like, but then be prepared to splash that kind of money. Ideally your guest list should be a mix and a balance at the same time. For example if your party is for a 10 year old kid, it should have only children, but if your child is in the age group of 1-5 years then it would be a good idea to invite either parents or their caretakers with them.
Here try and avoid kids who don’t gel well with your child, like in my case, my daughter was disappointed that I had invited an unavoidable cousin of hers for the party.
Keeping the budget and the guest age group in mind you can select your place. In case you want to keep it at your place there are also lots of options available these days. You could choose to celebrate the birthday anywhere from your own garden or your local garden, or you could also use your terrace area, or just use your house. Incase your room sizes are small, then use separate rooms for the kids and parents! There are buildings which allow residents to entertain in their garage, basement or terraces too. You should check with the concerned authorities though.
For those who want to keep the party outdoors, you have various options too. From regular Pizza and Burger joints to food courts and ofcourse your neighborhood hotels also have banquet halls and party areas.
I personally like doing it at the home; it gives you much scope for making it special and entertaining at the same time.
More recently the word “theme parties” has cropped up like mushrooms, and now a days, there this other word I’m coming across more often “Flavor”. Well call it what you wish, but themes can me as varied and as diverse as your imagination.
You could opt for basic themes or flavors, like colors to numbers (age of the birthday child), to more exotic as World tomorrow, Royal Kingdom or anything as elaborate as you can imagine. Then there are the all time favorites like Disney characters, Ben Ten for boys and Hanna Montana for the girls. My 8year old niece tells me Barbie is “Oh so old fashioned”!
For older kids, you could use your child’s favorite book or movie for the same and then incorporate its reading or watching in the party too.
It is also a good idea to use the season or any other festival that happens to fall in the same period as the party theme too. Like for example in India, in the months of July and August monsoons are a favorite choice. During Diwali and Navratri you could keep a more traditional idea.
But all in all do sit down and ask your child what she/he wants specifically wants. You could ask the child to give 2-3 ideas as to what a party should have as per him and then finalize the theme. Sometimes kids want something specific like clowns or tattoo makers, you could either hire professionals or just get someone you know to do it for you.

You will need to send written invitations to your child’s friends with whom you don’t have personal or telephonic contacts with. Even otherwise it is a nice way to announce your party and also introduce the guests to the theme and set the mood of the party too.  People will also not be confused in regards with the date time and venue of your celebrations too, so it is a nice idea to send a written invite rather than an oral one.
There are lots of ready made options available in the market but keep in mind your theme and them select the one that best fits your requirement. There are also lots of options available on the net that can be downloaded and printed too; these can also be personalized to suit your requirements.
You could also make the invites on your own if you start planning early on. For example if your theme is Balls, send a fancy transparent bag with lots of small balls and circular chocolates with it and write the party details on top of the bag.
Incase you want your theme to be monsoons inviting kids with an umbrella printed with the required details on the underside is also doable.

The décor of your venue should be corresponding to the theme of the party. It would be very convenient to hire professionals in this too, but then if that was the case you would not be reading my blog! So for decorations you could use balloons, balls, cut outs, ribbons, toys etcetera etcetera. Incase of a movie or book theme, get large cut outs made from the pictures available and set up a projection area, away from all the noise and chaos.
These days, the market is virtually filled with novel and unique decoration ideas just find something that suits your purpose and mood. Using some imagination and creativity, you are sure to create a strikingly stunning look for the room. After all, it is a very special day that comes just once a year. just once a year.

Games again will vary as per the age group and also the theme of the party. Though some favorite kid party games are more or less in lines of musical chair (substitute chair for a parcel), four corners (named with relevance to your theme, eg. For a jungle themed party corners can be named as animals), or a simple Simon Says for your little tot’s friends.
The trick is to keep it simple and easy to follow for younger kids, and a bit of skill and luck based too. But in the end all kids should be happy, so don’t give away gifts to only some; all should be awarded for participating.

Now for my favorite part, my daughter did not want to serve food only! But try to keep your menu in accordance with the party time. Serve finger foods and easy to eat foods if the kids are unaccompanied but don’t forget something to drink, after all the play and fun I’m sure they will be famished and will gobble up whatever you serve.

This is a never ending subject, I just think I will have to write individually on each topic so as to be able to give more and also receive more helpful hints. Don’t forget to share your experiments and experiences with me. I would also like to know which topic I should start with first. FOOD?

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 Image Credit Google Images.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Suicide Awareness Week – 3rd-10th September

This is in view with the suicide awareness week – 3rd-10th September! I know I’m late, but better late than never.

Life is like a rented house, you have to leave it one day and go, go to unknown lands, anonymous destinations, but still at times you feel so low, so distressed that those unknowns look more promising than the present that seemed “promising yesterday”. What is it about life and its circumstances that make one succumb seemingly easy to end ones life?

Recently I came across an article that said India has the highest suicide rate in the world, a staggering and ever rising 10% in which about 40% are adolescents! Various reasons and circumstances have been cited as their excuse to end their lives, but none worthwhile. The foremost excuse being education and then it was peer pressure.
As per Asiaone, an Asian news portal, in India, at least 125 people aged 29 years or below are committing suicide every day and 51 per cent of the total suicide victims are graduates, college students or younger. Unbelievable ain’t it? But true.

I came across another site, maithrikochi, (Ive also used the graphs and pie chart from them too.) a Cochin based NGO, working for suicide prevention in Kerala, who told me that state wise it is amongst the developed and more progressive states that the suicide rates are much higher as that compared to the urban regions, than why do I always keep reading more and more about farmers killing themselves?  

Like from this graph, I gathered that Bihar has the lowest suicide rate average at 0.7 whereas Pondicherry has the highest average, astounding 50.2. And it was other southern states that also surprised me, like for example Kerala its average comes to 26.8. Now does his mean that education and literacy have a negative impact on our suicide rate? Bihar had the lowest literacy rate and at the same time Kerala is supposed to have 100% literate population. Amongst the top 6 slots for states with the highest average rate of suicide 4 are from the south. Tripura with 22.3, Karnataka with 21.7 followed by Tamil Nadu at position 7 with an average of 18.7, all this when the combined Indian average is 10.5 and this is the highest as compared to the world numbers.

It is also bizarre that we keep reading about students ending lives cause of all the above stated reason, but then their contribution to the suicide pie on basis of profession is a mere 5%, on the other hand housewives, ya my fellow ladies, are better donors, their share is that of 21.5%; second only to self-employed (who and what does this segment comprise of?) who are holding the biggest slice with a whopping 41%. I was thinking if they have included females working on their own under the self-employed section, then how does one decide the exact reason for taking their lives? I mean, take for example, a house-wife, working as a freelancer, but committing suicide cause of some household fight? Which sector does she fit in? Similarly, if a working student killed himself, how can we blame the education system for the same?

Since the 80’s our national suicide rate has gone up by 67%, it is not that life has become difficult and more turbulent as compared to that those days, it is just that we have become less tolerant and more demanding in life. I had read somewhere that these years are the best times to live in as per a survey, but then if this is the case why is our youth giving up so easily? What is it that makes a person end his or her own life? There was this instance in the movie 3-idiots, I would like to remind all those who ever feel suicidal at some point or the other in their lives, to keep a  picture of your parents or your loved one with you, and to look at it and think again if you want to end it all or not.

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