The Mad (Un)Scramble

Finally, the Event of The Year is over!

No, I’m not talking about the Oscars. I’m referring to Lil D’s birthday party. šŸ™‚

In keeping with the decision we had made two years ago, it was to be celebrated at home. Well, easier said than done, right?

It all started with me scouting around for entertainment ideas. I chanced upon a mystery theme, and when I mentioned it to Lil D, she was highly tickled. However, when I began researching in earnest, mystery, detective, and murder themes were all too complicated and elaborate. Finally, I settled upon a Treasure Hunt. I had to design the treasure hunt in such a way that it was contained within our apartment, the hurdles were challenging yet easy, and the house would not be overturned in the process. By the time I was done, you could have literally had my brains as Bheja Fry for breakfast!

We kicked off the proceedings with an official-looking printed invite from the Royal Society of Treasure Hunters! šŸ˜‰ It had a watermark which said TOP SECRET AND CONFIDENTIAL, and instructed the invitees to arrive at a suspected site at a given date and time. It was accompanied by an ID badge. The invitation itself had words that needed unscrambling, the venue was printed in a mirror font so that they needed to view it in a mirror, and a password was written in white crayon, over which they had to rub a highlighter. An official looking ID card too was sent out (I got those ID card holders with lanyards from Staples), on which they had to stick their picture and sign. Needless to say, this made the kids intensely curious! A couple of them informed us diligently that they had already affixed the photo and signed well in advance. You could tell how important they felt! šŸ˜€

When they arrived, it was Lil D’s idea to “scan” their ID badges using a cash-register toy of hers that gives out a beep. They were also required to give the password. I think security was a bit lax though — some made it without the password šŸ˜‰

The Treasure Hunt began in the living room. The girls were divided into colour-coded teams of three members each, and given bags of their team colour with their Treasure Hunter’s kit. This included a small notepad, a pen, a compass, a magnifying glass, and a glue stick. Each team was also given a cipher sheet.

They received their first “package” in the living room, which included directions to their next room, and a six-letter coded password that was in six pieces. They had to (a) decode the letters of the password using the cipher sheet and (b) unscramble the password. They then had to use the magnifying glass to read the directions, which was in very fine print, and then use the compass to follow the directions. They would then land in the next room. There, members of the “organizing committe” (meaning family and friends roped in to help!) awaited them.

The team had to present the password, and if correct, they had to play a one-minute game. If the first member of the team couldn’t get it, then the second member could try, and so on. They got one chocolate apiece for trying, and two chocolates if they won the game. Once done, they were handed their second “package”. This contained directions to the next room, the coded and scrambled password, and a few pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

They continued like this till they had finished all the four rooms (each team had a different order of rooms to trace), and by then had collected all the 30 pieces of the jigsaw puzzle (each team had a different jigsaw puzzle too). Now they needed to assemble the jigsaw puzzle. Once they did that, they had to read the verse that was written on the reverse of the puzzle, and then figure out the location of the treasure.

For example, one of the verses read:
Please come down and sit
Please do taste a bit
The feast is at the end
But find treasure if you bend!

The treasure was stuck below the dining table for this one.

There were four treasures for the four different teams, for I didn’t want just one team to “win”. The treasure was quite colourful and they loved it. It was packed as individual packets, so that they could just pick up one for themselves. Each packet included a colourful “chained bubble” pencil (I don’t know quite how to describe it!), cute erasers, another small notebook, jewellery, colourful rubberbands (for hair), and plenty of the coin chocolates in gold, silver, and pink!

The kids were simply amazing in the way they cracked the whole game. It was really interesting to see the team dynamics. The teams were pretty much on par with each other, and since there were four treasures, there was no real competition, yet they were quite curious about how far along the other teams had gotten. They were so innovative too. One game involved putting large rubber bands on a small ball. They needed to put ten bands in one minute. Very smartly one team took ten rubber bands at one shot, wound them into the required size and put them onto the ball in one go! They found the other games interesting too. One was moving peanuts with chopsticks (or were they really long toothpicks?), another was separating green gram from black urad dal, and the last was placing coins on cards according to the value of the card.

Needless to say, I was exhausted by the time the party was done. I had been on overdrive for the past couple of weeks, trying to design the game and implement it! But it was a most enjoyable challenge, and I had the best time of my life doing it. Of course, my family and friends rallied together wonderfully — the games would just not have been possible otherwise. The kids too claimed that they had a great time, and Lil D was quite satisfied.

But the real highlight of the party was a dance that had been “secretly” rehearsed for nearly a month and presented just for Lil D by her close friends. It was to the title song of Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, and choreographed by the kids themselves. The cutest thing was that when the song went Tuuuu, they all pointed to Lil D, who blushed and hid herself. šŸ™‚ I think it’s so fantastic that she has such a bunch of lovely friends. More power to them!

I have vowed that her next party will be a dance competition, where I will just need to sit as a judge and watch the kids do all the hard work, instead of me! Now wouldn’t that be a blast? šŸ˜€ šŸ˜€

5 thoughts on “The Mad (Un)Scramble

  1. Wow! What a lot of thought, effort, procurement, gift-wrapping and rhyme went into this project – thank God you could make it all come together in time! šŸ™‚
    The next year dance party may be similarly embellished by this highly creative mom. šŸ˜€

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