There is an interesting custom here in India that I am growing to really dislike. It seems that every time there is a party of any sort, there are a plethora of balloons involved. While I’m used to parties that have lots of decorations with balloons as an accent, here, balloons seem to be the decorations exclusively. People are hired to come in and put up the balloons, always in a distinctive 4-balloon pattern that looks like a tripod of three balloons with another balloon sticking off the top. These are stuck on the walls and ceiling and every available space.
Now, comes the bad part. Shortly after the party starts (we’re talking 10 minutes tops), the popping begins. Each and every kid arms themselves with a toothpick or fork or pin or whatever they can find, and goes off on a balloon popping frenzy. Generally, 30 minutes into the party, there is not a balloon in sight, as each and every one has been popped. The noise is deafening, as you might imagine. The kids are relentless in the pursuit of balloons to pop, and adults become willing accomplices, pulling the balloons off the walls and ceiling for them if they can’t reach.
The first time they encountered this, our kids were reduced to tears, as they watched the balloon they were batting in the air snatched and popped before their eyes. They have tried hiding them with us wherever we are sitting, but the others just come and pull them right off the table in front of it. There’s just no fighting it.
The last party we went to saw Ender finally join in the popping. I guess he’s adjusting. I’ll just have to remind him not to do it in the US…I don’t think his friends (or their parents) would appreciate it.