A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Secret Santa Calcutta Style

At the front of a room sits a table, covered in gifts of various sizes. A diminutive woman stands and yells out a number. The person whose number is called comes to the front of the room and picks out a present. Shaking, weighing, squeezing, or smelling the packages is not allowed. Of course, that doesn't keep people from doing it: "oh babu, just this once, it's okay, really, just a little shake." At some point, an individual whose number is called stands and looks around, seeing what gifts others have picked out. If they see something they like, they can steal it -- but an item can only be stolen twice. What, you want to steal something that's already been stolen twice? Oh, just cajole the lucky person into giving it to you and maybe you'll get lucky. Of course, you'll also have to deal with people hiding gifts perceived as better than others, though the organizer will remind people that all gifts must be visible to everyone. Also, you'll be implored by people who have received less appealing gifts to take them off their hands so they can get a new one: "Take this cheapy didi, take it, it's so nice!" Someone want to steal your silver salt and pepper shaker, despite the fact that you really really want it? Beg. Beg and plead. And then yell: "no dada, please dada, you don't want this. The other one is better, really please dada no!" Maybe you'll get lucky and they'll give up and try to steal something else -- that gift box of apricot preserves and orange pekoe tea looks appealing.

A room full of yelling Bengalis, screaming various semi-profane things at the top of their lungs, sipping "sheeraj," fighting over knick knacks someone picked up at the tchotchke store two hours prior, embarassing their children (who sit in the corner watching the madness, aghast).

Highly recommended as a game to spice up the office Christmas party. Bengalis not included.