Lockdown special: Lifestyle entrepreneur Siddhika Jalan shares hacks for the perfect virtual birthday bash
There’s no denying that we are stepping into a new normal, where elaborate, overcrowded birthday bashes may not be safe or even possible. There’s now a way to virtually accomplish almost anything and Kolkata-based entrepreneur Siddhika Jalan’s recent birthday celebration tells us that virtual birthday parties are set to be the next big thing. Jalan who has completely changed luxury gifting culture in Kolkata with her label Siddhika Jalan & Co, hosted around 15 friends this week for her birthday party conducted solely on virtual mediums.
“We are obviously stepping into a new kind of normal, and for my birthday I realised there’s no way of getting people together except, of course, virtually. I found nothing online, no hacks or inspiration as to how to do it. So, we thought about setting up a fun, activity-based bash where everyone can connect while social distancing,” she tells us.
Jalan reveals she sent out Whatsapp invites for her birthday party to some of her friends. “People can be creative while curating their own parties and choose the kind of elements they want. Like our first round was an icebreaker round which was conceived so that my guests could connect with one other person from my guest list, because I didn’t want to put someone on the spot if that person only knows me and doesn’t know anyone else, just like in real-life parties!” Jalan tells us.
The ice-breaker round is like a Secret Santa round where each of the guests will pick a name. Jalan’s friends were sent Whatsapp links through which they could pick a taboo card bearing the name of a fellow party guest. The next step was calling them up and connecting with them. “You may already be knowing the person if you’re from the same circle, or it could be a stranger! That’s the fun!” Jalan adds.
Round 2 was an artsy one and the guests had to be given a 24-hour window to get the essentials ready. It was basically a make your own art round, where Jalan’s friends made art bearing a personal connection. “Guests were asked to make any kind of art they want, be it a collage or a doodle or even digital illustration or some kind of assemblage; it was meant to be about who they are and the connect they share with me. A friend made me a moodboard featuring things which are common about her and me, so it had hydrangeas, table decor, and travel items. Another friend made a stunning Frida Kahlo headpiece with flowers from her garden! And then all they had to do was click a picture and send it to me,” Jalan tells us.
The third part of the bash was a mystery game played over Whatsapp, between Siddhika and her guests. “ I actually collaborated with a city-based company which hosts board games around Kolkata’s cafes and restaurants and came up with a virtual mystery game which is a lot of fun to play over Whatsapp, especially with so many people,” says the entrepreneur. We were naturally keen to learn if virtual birthdays are set to be a much bigger deal in the next few years, and if Jalan wanted to make it a part of her business model.
“To be honest, I’ve been thinking about working with this, because clearly this is going to be a part of our realities now. People feel comfortable social distancing while they are safe in their homes, and it makes a lot of sense. So, naturally everyone is very interested in virtual celebrations,” remarks Jalan.