Surprise! We’re here for you

A slew of city-based surprise planners promise you an unforgettable experience

March 30, 2016 03:36 pm | Updated 07:11 pm IST

Be it a birthday or anniversary these companies have several tricks up their sleeve

Be it a birthday or anniversary these companies have several tricks up their sleeve

An unassuming couple walks into the lobby of a movie theatre, picks up some popcorn and walks towards their screen. As they get closer, the music gets louder. A youngster steps out of the crowd, hands the woman a rose and then starts to dance. As more young men with roses step out at intervals and perform a flash mob, she covers her face with her hands, laughing; the sheepish look of satisfaction on her husband’s face is enough to show that he was in the know all along.

While surprises are nothing new, what’s different now is the way they’re being executed, and by whom. The days of furtively planning and popping up at your friend’s door at midnight for their birthday or figuring out where to hide your significant other’s anniversary gift, are long gone. All you have to do now is call a surprise planner, and they’ll do the rest. Here’s what a few of them in the market have to offer. But be warned: you might find it hard to top these in the following years.

The idea of a surprise planning outfit came to Sakthivel Pannerselvam and his friend a few years back, but it was a little ahead of its time. Over the past few months, however, demand for their service has been high. “We do about 50 to 60 surprises a month,” says Sakthi. Their USP is that they come up with unique concepts to plan a surprise, whatever be the occasion. “The most common are, of course, birthdays and anniversaries; but we have also done break-ups and apologies,” he laughs.

They don’t do pranks or gags: once the person has been approached, the team immediately reveals why they are there. Apart from serenading with a guitar or violin, a bunch of flowers and cake or chocolate, one can choose to present personalised gifts, release a box of butterflies, plan a luxury drive in a Jaguar or even go for a joyride — in a helicopter or yacht no less. Sakthi says, “We work according to the customer’s budget; the highest we have done was for Rs. 1.2 lakh. It was a day-long anniversary package that a husband planned for his wife.”

However, not everyone knows what to do when they are surprised, which can lead to awkward — and later, hilarious — stories. “At a midnight surprise, we were singing, but the gentleman it was for, was more interested in eating the cake we had just delivered than listening to us. We honestly didn’t know what to do! But mostly, people are pleasantly surprised and some of them get really emotional and start crying.”

But the ones Sakthi looks forward to the most are the surprises they do for underprivileged and terminally-ill children. “The joy on their faces is unparalleled. We see pure happiness, and that’s why we do these visits at least once or twice a month, and do it on our own time.”

Available: Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore

Contact: 77081 00013


The Majors and Minors

This young team of friends, led by Deepak Rajkumar, have been in the business for the past eight months. He says, “We used to plan so many surprises for our friends that it became second nature. We couldn’t have found a better time to start. It’s not just about the surprise; it’s also about the memories we make.” While they do create experiences, it’s more about the gift itself than the concepts.

As the name indicates, they do a lot of musical surprises, as Deepak is an aspiring musician, who someday hopes to get into the music industry. Apart from indoor surprises, like filling a room with helium balloons, they have around 15 to 20 packages to choose from, including luxury car and bike rides and charter flights. They too work on customised deals.

“Sometimes people don’t know how to react. One lady simply stood stock still till we finished the songs, said thank you and sent us on our way,” says Deepak. “A lot of people don’t understand what we do. For example, on Women’s Day, we wanted to thank the women in the police force for their work, and surprise them with a song. We had such a tough time explaining it to them!” As long as the surprises don’t disturb the peace of the neighbourhood, they’re still good to go.

Available: Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore

Contact: 89397 69262


Tiny Surprise

If your friends and family are not the type to appreciate a flash mob or being woken in the middle of the night to the strains of a violin, there’s still a way to catch them unawares without making them the centre of attention in public. Send them a flipbook, gift combos, giant teddies, a map of your life together, or simply a box full of helium balloons.

Vijay, one of the founders, says, “We don’t plan elaborate surprises, but it’s the gift and the delivery that make it special. We have a new mobile app out now. We ship across the country, but being Chennai-based, we are also testing a new feature on the app, where people can watch their gift being delivered through live streaming. That way, they can see the reaction of the recipient.” This will be extended to other cities as well, depending on their delivery persons, he adds.

There are options for everything on the website: flowers, cakes, chocolates, Valentine’s Day, couple, anniversary, for men, personalised gifts and gift vouchers. What’s more, their customer support works on WhatsApp, which makes it easy and convenient to keep track of your queries.

Available: Across India

Contact: 99401 80288


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