A couple of weeks ago, came an unexpected twist in our relationship with Nina and her parents. It was the week when Nina told Pari that her birthday was round the corner and she’ll be hosting a birthday party. Like all friends from her class (who travel in the same bus), Nina insisted that Pari too should make it to her house on her birthday and with a present.
Pari conveyed the same to me. In my mind, I was confused by the fact that in case Nina’s parents did invite Pari over for Nina’s birthday party, should I let Pari go?
One, Nina is 4 years elder to Pari and so it was highly likely Pari would be the only one of her age in the party. Secondly, would the invitation actually come? I believed Nina had invited Pari over like she’d invited her classmates, but when it came to her parents inviting Pari formally, I hadn’t yet heard anything from them (despite meeting twice daily).
Thirdly, in the back of my mind, I was really not 100% sure if I should let Pari go for the party after all that had been going on (or rather not going well) between Nina’s family and myself.
In this dilemma, one thing was clear, Pari was very excited about the prospect of a birthday party and was all prepared to go and have a blast. It was totally my call, so I decided to play on, as things came our way. Days passed and it was the day before Nina’s birthday (her birthday was on the weekend). In the afternoon, when I went to pick Pari at the bus stop, I wondered if Nina’s parents had to invite Pari, it would have been done by now. It was their last opportunity and since they hadn’t uttered a word as yet, in my heart I sort of knew which way all this was heading.
Just then the school bus arrived and Nina and Pari got down. I was taking care of Pari’s school bag, water bottle etc, when, Nina’s father blurted out an awkward, yet cordial invitation for Pari to attend the party and without giving me much time to think or react, he kind of got inside his car.
It was crazy, but I waved to him requesting him to stop. I asked him where the party was and what were the timings. He hastily shared the venue and timings and said to give him a call in case we got stuck and off they sped past.
Okay, so now we had a formal invitation, though Pari had been sulking that Nina hadn’t given her the fancy invitation card she had apparently given to her classmates in the school bus. I tried to brush that issue off and focused on what was really important. Were we going for the party?
I decided not to over-think it but to use the opportunity to let Pari bond better with Nina and hope that things will cease to be awkward between us from here on.
The following hours were spent deciding on the gift, shopping for it, wrapping it up beautifully and having Pari’s dress ready for the party. In all this chaos, Pari’s excitement about the party was unmistakable. I wanted her to have fun and the rest didn’t really matter.
It was a kids only invite. In my heart, I was 100% calm because I knew Pari would be just fine if I left her with Nina’s family as over 35 kids were invited and I was aware Pari was friends with most of them because they are her bus-mates too. But, my mom was frantic, she couldn’t stop worrying as to how would things go. She kept on convincing me to not leave Pari alone and to stay back for the party.
It was totally my call to assure if Pari was safe, if she was going to be fine and if I should consider staying back for the duration of the party. I decided to think about the bridge when I get to it. That day, luckily Pari chose to sleep post-lunch and so she got proper rest of three hours before party time.
I took it as a sign that things were going to be fine. Sometimes the air and the sequence of events have a way of showing us that things are falling in place for the better.
Finally we got ready and reached the venue (after a few hiccups in locating it, but I called up Nina’s father and he helped us with directions) which was Nina’s farmhouse with a huge garden, a massive fountain, a pet dog and more. Pari looked at home right from the start. Though Nina’s parents were apprehensive given the fact that Pari was the youngest of the lot and asked me to stay back if I felt the need to. Around 15 kids had already arrived and Pari was mingling well, given the fact Nina and on of her elder cousin sister were taking care of Pari right from the moment she landed on the scene (as per Nina’s father’s instructions).
I waited for ten minutes, and when Pari felt absolutely comfortable, I had a word with Nina’s mother, checking that they had my contact number just in case Pari felt homesick and off I darted back to the car.
Back home, my mother was panic struck seeing I had left Pari all by herself. On my reassurance she did calm down a bit but the following few hours, I could sense my mom’s eyes were stuck on the wall clock.
I on the other hand was unusually calm and in control of my emotions. I have full realization that Pari is hardly 4 years old but being a mother, I can sense times when she is in safe hands and when I need to panic (at least I think so).
Three hours later, when I reached the venue to pick Pari up, gosh what did I see? Pari was having a good time, was being fed by Nina’s grandmother and the minute Nina’s family spotted me, her mother came over full of praises of how well Pari had got along, had been participating in all activities and games and how she’d won a couple of prizes too.
In short, Pari was loving every minute of the party, had been taken good care of and was enjoying the tasty food. At this point, I must mention I was amazed by the sheer variety on the menu that were all healthy with no sign of fries or junk in any form.
Quite surprisingly, Nina’s parents were unusually cordial and so were her grandparents and after the ceremonial distribution of return gifts and my bingeing on some snacks due to persistence by Nina’s mother, we bid adieu to Nina’s family and drove back home.
So far all was great and for once in my heart, I felt that the ice between Nina’s family and us was broken and the coldness was done with for good.
Little did I know, that come Monday and the minute we hit the bus stop, the impending awkwardness returned. We still stand on the bus stop as if we’ve never met informally and the crazy aloofness in Nina’s father’s demeanor persists.
I have no understanding as to where the roots of this awkwardness lie, but the one good this birthday party caused is Nina and Pari have inched closer and Pari has started learning how to take good care of herself at times when I am not around.
Please read the next part here.
The song on my mind: Musu Musu Hasi ~ Pyar main Kabhi Kabhi