Life & Style

Here is how you can celebrate a lockdown birthday

Lockdown birthday celebrations   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStock

Lockdown birthday: We really did not see that coming. But it is here and staying longer than we would have liked it to. And believe it or not, it has given rise to trends. After drive-by parties, the latest is walk-by parties, where (depending on the lockdown rule in each country) a small number of people, while maintaining social distancing, wear party hats and stand outside the birthday boy or girl’s house and sing happy birthday or hold balloons and flowers.

With elaborate outdoor plans shelved, and with limited resources, family and friends are trying to think up quirky ways to keep birthdays exciting. Funny cards are emailed (hello 1999), videos calls are made and parties are organised online. Cakes are left on doorsteps or delivered through apps. As grocery runs become less frequent and larders empty, jugaad cakes are made at home by moulding instant noodles, or stacking layers of fruits (papaya and watermelon with apples cut in the shape of stars, for example).

A little girl celebrates with her family on video call

A little girl celebrates with her family on video call   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

And some like Chef Vikramjit Roy, corporate chef, The Kimono Club (Delhi), chose to make his own pressure cooker cake — a sponge cake made of bottle gourd, cocoa powder and tutti frutti to remind him of his childhood days. “I have been baking for guests or family but this was the first time I made a cake for myself,” says Vikramjit. And that’s not all. He also cooked five types of fritters. “In the Bengali custom it is imperative to have at least five types of bhajas for birthdays,” he says listing them out: Potol (pointed gourd), beguni (eggplant fritters), mochar chop (made with banana flowers), jhuri aloo bhaja (thinly shredded potato crisps) and maach bhaja (katla intestine marinated and fried in mustard oil). “This is something I enjoyed doing,” says Vikramjit. This was the first time he got to celebrate his birthday at home. He admits he missed being with his team members and friends as over the years he has been celebrating with them after his shift.

But luckily, his friends had organised a Zoom party. “It was unique. Never had I seen so many people on one screen. There were nearly 50 people and everybody was singing and drinking. The virtual party lasted till 5 am,” says Vikramjit.

Those taking their birthdays seriously, who start the countdown a month ahead, are clearly not allowing the pandemic to rain on their parade. Picture this: a virtual scavenger hunt, recreating movie posters, a Bollywood quiz, treasure hunts... “Ninety minutes of entertainment,” says Zeeshan Anees of Chennai-based Puffalope Productions. Known for its out-of-the box events and games, the unit is now organising lockdown birthday activities for clients. “We started lockdown events on March 21 and have done around 24 so far, with requests coming in from other cities,” he adds.

The latest party they organised had a guest list of 40 from seven different countries (India, Belgium, the US, Singapore, Dubai, the UK and Italy). “The virtual gathering was at 9 pm in India. The person in the US had to wake up at 6.30 am to be part of the festivities,” laughs Zeeshan. Explaining how it works, he says, “The themed quiz is played on an online app. For video tasks, treasure and scavenger hunts, instructions are sent on WhatsApp and teams coordinate on private Zoom rooms.” With the status of the lockdown uncertain, the team at Puffalope is happy to continue delivering smiles.

Bring Your Own Cake

With no plans for his birthday and a busy Work From Home schedule, Hyderabad-based Abhishek P was thrilled when he received a mystery parcel: a chocolate truffle cake. Soon, his phone rang and the senders of the cake, his office gang, made him cut it as they watched him devour almost half of it himself. Instructions were then given to smear chocolate on his own face and do 30 pushups in place of the customary birthday bumps.

With birthdays being celebrated away from loved ones, Bring Your Own Cake parties and hanging out on video calls are becoming popular ways to celebrate the big day

With birthdays being celebrated away from loved ones, Bring Your Own Cake parties and hanging out on video calls are becoming popular ways to celebrate the big day   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“This was a BYOC (Bring Your Own Cake) party. My friends had cupcakes and chips at their respective houses while I ate at mine, but all through we were on video call and later played games on the House Party app,” says the 31-year-old. He believes there is a bright side to lockdown birthdays and that is, “Even though the party is virtual, it feels more intimate. It is no more about which pub or restaurant you are going to celebrate at or what you are going to wear, but about being connected, conversations and laughter.”

In Kolkata, Rishi Mukherjee is in a state of confusion. It is his wife’s birthday a day after lockdown ends. “But I don’t know if the lockdown will be extended. In either case, I plan to do something at home to be safe,” he says. To commemorate the day, the couple plans to send out care packages to a few less-privileged people. Rishi is also planning a night of pub home. “I got the idea online. Basically, I will set up small pop up bars in our bedroom, living and dining room. Then we will get dressed up and go from one room to the other grabbing a drink at each. There will be music and lots of finger food,” he laughs and adds, “If you have better ideas, please let me know.”

Did you celebrate a lockdown birthday? If you have any ideas on how to make them more fun, mail us at

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 5:47:11 AM |

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