As I came out of my house, on the day I moved in and stretched and twisted myself to a sigh of relief, the sight of the open space in front of my house that is well secluded, gave me an impression that this could be a nice place to arrange a friendly gathering. You have enough open space even after taking away the space that both the cars that are parked inside take up and that this is away from the sight of the possible passer-by on streets as this is on the backyard just makes it one perfect place for an outdoor party of any kind. This idea didn’t strike me alone but also to my room-mates and even to some of the friends who visited my house. Almost, most of my friends live in an apartment and though there are open spaces in their apartments that can be used for socialising events, the fact that you are being watched by others always curbs your freedom a bit. Nothing becomes equivalent to a private space in the backyard that is secluded and is out of vision from the others for parties and social gatherings. So when it came to selecting a place for the barbecue party that we wanted to organize, our house became the natural choice. I would rather say that, just because we had a space that met all the necessary requisites to be the venue for a barbecue party, the idea did germinate in first place. So after having made up the mind to organise a barbecue party here, we needed to select a date. We chose it to coincide with the birth day of one of our friends. We did buy a cake to mark the occasion, but I am not sure if that turned out to be surprise, as we all wanted it to. I felt that it was pretty obvious to her that this was going to happen and the surprise factor didn’t materialise. But I was indeed surprised and the reason behind it was the birthday cake we bought. The cake which looked just ordinary from outside turned out to be mouth-watering and it just melted when I ate it.
So the date was set and the invitations were sent out, electronically in fact and the head count was collected. The actual preparation for the event starts after this. This is not that big a deal, but the fact that all of us are novice in it, kind of adds a small amount of complexity. We needed to buy the barbecue grill, charcoal and the igniting fuel that serves as the primary investment for the event. This was available in the grocers, located very close by and we also bought all the food stuff that we needed for the night from the same place. Again, since we are new to this we couldn’t arrive at the correct estimate of quantities of the stuff that we may need. To be on a safer side we did buy all those stuff in little extra amounts. But in the end it turned out that some of them weren’t little extra but a way beyond that. One of the reasons is that, the intuition that told us to buy the food materials in extra amounts didn’t for some reason tell us to buy extra charcoal. The charcoal did get burnt out after a while that left some amount of stuff still in its raw state. The gas stove was used a little bit after that, but people were all contended for the night by then. And there comes the benefit of being the host. All that is left, after those who visited took away some stuff that they could, goes into our inventory. So I was left with chicken that would serve two meals among me and my room-mates, bun and patty to make some 10 burgers. Sauces, mayonnaise, masala, salads a large bottle of coke and a part of that delicious cake were the other thing that made my kitchen.
So the purchase was made with the error factor included in the quantities and now the barbecue needs to be set up. You spend money to buy all the stuff that you need, only to find you missing a screw-driver. But that didn’t impede the preparations even a bit, as the nails and spoon came to the rescue. The grill was assembled, the charcoal was put in it and the ignition fuel that was in the form of a spray was added to the charcoal. Now when we tried lighting up the grill, as you all know it didn’t get ignited. So now we had to rush to the store to get some liquid ignition fuel and the second attempt to ignite the grill using it did turn to out to be successful, to the happiness of all those who were gathered and the stuff that were waiting to get burned. As this was going on, parallel another team was involved in marinating all that we bought and the other necessary preliminary work that was needed to be done. So get set, go we went. Starting with the corn, we continued with veg patties for the burger, paneer, sausage and chicken. Things went pretty well and in fact at a good pace. Hot cooked stuff is always taste good to your tongue and we ate as we cooked. The soft drink and salad complimented the menu that came out of the barbecue grill. There were some chips to add to that. They charcoal needed periodic boost to keep it going but eventually it died after a while, but only after it served us a great deal. Since we started making chicken only in the later part of the night, it was chicken that was left unused in a relatively larger amount. But never mind, we can finish within the next 2 days.
As it has to be, it wasn’t just an evening of food, but as I said earlier an evening of togetherness and socialising. Though we know each other even before this, this event did play a role in improving our mutual relationship with one another. Chatting and pointless bantering was all around the place and we completely locked up all those assignments, submission date and other academic pressures in some other part of the sub conscious mind from where its effect can’t be perceived. As far as the timeline of the event is concerned we finished shopping around 5.30 in the evening and started setting things up leisurely around 6.30 and it was by 7.30 to 8 when everyone was there at house and we started get going. Actually time flew by just like that, which is an indication that we did have a nice time. Music did play around and flashes from the camera also came every now and then to capture the moments. Not only this event served as a birthday party to one of our friends, but it also served as a farewell party to one another person and indeed a friend who is leaving to Houston, Texas to start his career.
As the charcoal lost its flame the noise and the activities subsided outside only to find ourselves sitting inside the comfort of the house and continuing the directionless discussion on the pointless topics that we had, and in the process finding even more of such topics to bring into the discussion. But one topic that did have a point and was discussed with much interest was the value of the US dollar against Indian rupee and how everyone wished it to go about in the future. And this was the time when we devoured on the birthday cake and tried to pour in as much soft drinks as possible. By now the time actual shot well past midnight and it was time to pull the curtains on this beautiful night. USC Campus Cruiser was called to drop of people at their respective home and one set of people left in one of our friend’s car. Everyone will have nights that they wish could go on. I had lot of those during my under-graduation, with even exam nights figuring in that list. This is perhaps the first of one such night after coming here to Los Angeles. Hope I have still a lot more of those coming in the days to come.
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