It was with much excitement that two 10 year olds woke on the morning of 1st April. Today was the day of the Easter Egg hunt! Zahra had her friend Miribai over for a sleepover the night before (they did actually get some sleep) and they were awake early planning tactics for the hunt.
The Overseas Women’s Club of Bangalore (‘OWC’) had organised its inaugural Easter Egg hunt and family picnic at the Canadian International School (‘CIS’) on Saturday 1st April. Handily for us it is in the north of Bangalore so about a 20 minute drive from where we live. After dropping off a friend at the airport we stopped off at Nature’s Basket (a store mainly frequented by expats due to the large amount of imported goods available) and spent a lot of INR buying picnic goodies. A short trip home to make up the picnic hamper and we were on our way. In the meantime the girls had been assessing which bags and baskets would be the most useful whilst allowing maximum capacity whilst being hands free to allow more Egg collection. Who knew operational tactics were required for an egg hunt?!
The Egg Hunt
We arrived (on time) and checked in and paid our INR 200 per person. The girls had already spotted lots of Easter Eggs on the field and were furtively looking around for more. The scouting operation had already begun. When the whistle blew to gather all the children in for instructions some got a bit over eggcited (see what I did there) and started darting off collecting eggs. They were corralled back to the start whilst a formal photo was taken (which was easier said than done with eggs visible to excited children).
It was finally time for the Easter Egg Hunt. The children were advised they would be allowed to Egg hunt in order of age/ height, so that the very little children would be able to gather some eggs. Gail reached out her arms and advised anyone who could fit under them (without ducking or bending) could go. Off toddled the really little ones to pick up the clearly visible eggs on the field. After about a minute Gail raised her arms slightly and told the children to go who could fit under them. Some more children headed off, slightly faster and in different directions, to collect eggs. Gail made the older/ taller children wait for another long painstaking minute before she turned to them all and said “Off you go”. That was it. Zahra and her friends sprinted off in different directions. The remaining children did too. If the Olympics put Easter Eggs at the end of the 100m sprint I think these kids could have given Usain Bolt a run for his money!
I tried to keep track of Zahra and Miribai but to be honest they were both running so fast and in different directions it was hard to keep up with them. Besides, I was distracted by one young man walking past me with a huge mound of eggs in a basket and wondered at how he had managed to collect so many so fast. I feared for his teeth until I looked closer and saw that these were plastic eggs with toys in them rather than chocolate eggs which would have melted in the 37C heat. I briefly spotted the girls on climbing frames and behind bushes and on top of grass banks sprinting between each.
Whilst the mayhem continued, Rez and I picked a picnic spot in the middle of the covered area, away from the searing temperatures, and set up the picnic. Children were now starting to return to parents with mounds of eggs. Even the little children had baskets full of eggs. I did wonder how many eggs had been hidden (I later found out it was 500!) as these baskets crammed with eggs walked past. Eventually Zahra and Miribai plonked themselves down on the rug, breathless and red faced from the heat and exercise, and proceeded to empty their haul onto the cloth. Two over shoulder bags and a basket contained 34 eggs in all. A somewhat magnificent haul I thought. They dutifully shared them between themselves, in clearly a pre agreeed plan. I was impressed. Not only by the fairness employed by two friends but also by the organisers in hiding so may Easter eggs so well that it took the older children quite a while to find them all.
We started to enjoy our picnic early. Why wait till ‘lunchtime’ when there is delicious food to be had? Picnics are Zahra’s favourite summertime activity in the U.K. and she has missed having them here, so this was a great thing for her to do and she thoroughly enjoyed it. We had a selection of goodies which were eaten in between each of the games going on.
The Sack race
Whilst we were still eating our sandwiches the children were called over to take part in a sack race. Again the races were held in age groups with the little ones going first. The sight of little children in pillowcases up to their necks trying to hop, walk and run in them was so incredibly cute. The distance was quite short for them but some needed a helping hand to guide them to the finish line. It was such fun.
It was finally the turn over the over 9 age group. The pillowcases came up to the top of their legs and they had to hold on to them to keep them from falling down. Gail said “GO!” and they were off. It was fast and furious as these children hotly contested this race. Some fell and were back up quickly. Some techniques were unusual but effective. There was a lot of falling over and lots of laughter too. Children dived over the finish line in a desperate attempt to win but Zahra was the victor this time.
The Egg and spoon race
Now this was funny as I don’t think the children realised the rules for an egg and spoon race. The winner is not necessarily the first person over the line but the first person over the line who didn’t drop their egg. In the U.K. We use real eggs so if it drops and breaks you’re out. Here the children were dropping and catching the eggs and immediately replacing them and running on. There were a lot of techniques employed to catch the egg before it hit the ground (all of which would have led to a disqualification in the U.K.!). It was hilarious watching the children try and run whilst balancing an egg on a spoon though. I think the eventual winner was a young girl who walked at a steady pace for the entire length of the race and didn’t drop her egg once. An impressive achievement.
The doughnut dive
Next up was the doughnut dive. Doughnuts were dangling on a piece of string in front of each competitor. The little children simply couldn’t eat a full doughnut and parents were on hand to help out with that difficult task! The next age group managed to eat them after a while of struggling with the doughnuts flying everywhere on the string. It was quite fun to watch them try and work out how to manage to eat it. Next up we’re the over 9 age group who had been watching and assessing the tactics employed by previous groups. The dutifully sat down, arms behind their backs ready for the “go!”. When the go ahead was given it was truly a race as to who could eat the doughnut the quickest. Different tactics were employed to capture the doughnut (with different body parts other than hands) long enough to take big chunks and swallow. The winner geniously trapped the doughnut between her head and shoulder and merely turned to take bites. The only thing slowing her down was the rate she could eat the doughnut. She quickly polished it off and stood triumphant with arms aloft declaring her victory. It was indeed magnificent, Miribai!
A fun filled day
There was also an Easter Bunny Toss for the very little children. The winners, and those placed, in the sack race and egg and spoon race were awarded trophies as well as school goody bags. The other winners received school goody bags. The OWC provided much needed drinks to go with our picnics. As we sat finishing off our lunch we mused on the morning’s events. The children had had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We did too. It was a very successful inaugural event by the OWC and I for one hope they do it again next year.