It was my husband’s birthday in August. This was the 4th time we were celebrating a birthday at home in this pandemic. By now, we had gotten the hang of decorations, cake and the usual stuff. But it tends to be boring. So, I decided to take it up a notch this time.
Last year, we went for a one day staycation on his birthday. In 2018, I cooked an elaborate 3 course Lebanese dinner for him. The year before that, I had called his friends at midnight to surprise him.
But all this was out of question this time. So, what can I do to up my game?
As you all know, I start planning for birthdays weeks in advance. He is a brainy guy, so why not something in this direction? Why not a murder mystery to solve. The idea clicked.
I searched the web through and through to get one decent murder mystery (albeit virtual) free of cost. But to my dismay, the good ones were all at a payment. So, I zeroed in on one, which I bought for a nominal cost. A small price for loads of fun.
Then I prepared an invite for all. We planned it for 10 pm at night so all the kiddos will be asleep and all friends and family will be able to play uniterrupted virtually.
I told Vikrant ‘maine tumhara birthday plan kar liya hai’
Vikrant – ‘kuch plan mat karo. Bahar ja nahi sakte aur ghar par mujhe kuch pasand nahi aata’
Me – ‘we are playing a virtual murder mystery game’
Vikrant – keeps quiet. Which means he is in.
So what if it won’t be a surprise but it wont affect the enormous amount of fun we will be having
A simple (virtual) murder mystery goes like this.
One person is the host. He/she sends character packets to the players which they read and prepare for their roles. There are some clues which they have to solve together to find out who the murderer is. There are many age appropriate mysteries online.
So, we had 12 players excluding me.
I went step by step to create excitement in the participants as they are a little on the lazy side. They can sit and gossip for hours on end but virtual party. Nope!!
So a week before the party, I sent the invite on their personal whatsapp windows. Then 5 days before the party, I sent general guidelines to the ladies only. Guys get intimidated by too much information. 😉
Then, I sent the character packet and the google meet link, the pre game video link over a course of 3 days; just to increase the curiosity and to make sure they read their character bio. I went at a snail’s pace but like a good marketing agent, I made them feel my presence everyday. All the above, I sent to my hubby too. As he wasn’t involved in the planning at all.
On the day of the birthday, I got donuts delivered at everyone’s home. So that everyone can enjoy the same thing together at the same time.
So this is how the day went.
He woke up late. Till then, I decorated the drawing room. Upped my game.
Then the kids gifted him this personalised pillow cover, which he loved. Everybody wished him and he just grunted thankyou. Men!!
I baked a beautiful cake and he just lay around the whole afternoon and played with kids.
I asked him what he wanted for his birthday.
He said “shanti.” Me : “Sorry. Wo to tumhe nahi mil sakti.“
10 P.M. It was fun time. So we played the game and it took us 3 hours to solve the puzzle and break out of the room. It got a little stretched whenever we got stuck at one puzzle but hints kept the party alive. Just one suggestion – keep the no. Of participants to 6-7. More than that is too much to handle and guests can’t talk to each other easily.
Everybody joked, laughed and we were just happy that all of us could be together in these times.
In the end, it was a day well celebrated !! A special thanks to Kanika, Aditi, Antima, Ruchika, Neha, Nikhil, Nishant, Rahul, Saurabh, Rajat and Sanjay for making this party alive. And of course my son Kabir who helped me pan out the details and even solved the mysteries with us.