Something happens when you have a good time at a certain event, at a particular place.
It’s usually something that isn’t formulaic like a wedding or a birthday party, but might be what that happens after the wedding is over, unplanned and unorganised. It’s usually a spontaneous coinciding of all the forces.
After that one event, there is this great desire to re-create it, to pin down those spontaneous forces and make then reproduce themselves at your command. To create almost a tradition out of it.
Sometimes you nearly get there. It’s almost the same, but most of the time the harder you try to re-create the event, the further away it gets from the original.
Every year when I go home over Christmas I organise a little lawn picnic.
I drag out the chatais, the seating from the veranda benches and lots of cushions. My mother and I cut cucumbers and carrots sprinkled liberally with lime and chat masala and my mother whips up a cheesy dip. Much like a skinny, crankier Delia.
My mother also likes to organise the food, but since only a few people eat, there usually are left-overs to last a week
Which I have learned to try and avoid. Less is more. There are only so many times you can eat Biryani and Raita in one week before you’ve had it up to the eyeballs.
There’s usually some cocktail. Sometimes Pimms (we go through this quickly, Pimms is far too expensive to buy in India. My duty-free bottles last just about an afternoon), sometimes Sangria (that no one drank but me as I recall).
Once we’ve powered through the Pimms we settle for less picnicky drinks like rum or beers. Whatever is at hand.
Leo and I once invented this excellent cocktail. Here’s our secret (shhhh) recipe
- Mango juice
- A scoop of Naturals Mango ice cream
- A couple of sprigs of mint
The first few times I organised the picnic I neglected to invite anyone.
(I use the word ‘organise’ loosely.)
It was on a weekday so the only people who could come were other loafers. Leo was on holiday, Anush is an academic (perpetual holiday) and we bullied Riddhi into leaving work early.
Our picnic lasted some 6 hours. We took a break from Cranium and the various other board games Riddhi carries around with her EVERY WHERE, (You can always count on Riddhi to bring games.) and went to Anush’s roof mid way through, then resumed on the lawn when Anush’s parent summoned him back home to catch his flight. (Anush is over 30. Just a note.)
We turned on the Christmas lights hung in the trees, got out the electric mosquito racket and burned chaklies in a ring of smoke around us (good disguise if you happen to be smoking mal) until past 1 am. A leisurely picnic all round.
Since then the numbers have gradually increased, and now I need to co-ordinate the guests fluctuating schedules.
I have to include Riddhi’s jing, who I suspect only hang out with me because of Riddhi. Riddhi’s boyfriend occasionally gets drunk and then picks a fight with Leo.
Frankly, it’s fucking exhausting. The chiller vibe has somewhat flown. Next year I’m not inviting anyone again.
That’s sort of what the drawing was based on. Trying to get back a perfect moment in a spontaneous event.