A splash party with a touch of tech

And I though cross Atlantic Birthday parties were only for the rich and famous!!

This weekend we celebrated our sons birthday. We decided to make it a ‘splash’ party for all his two and three year old friends as its been really hot here in Atlanta. We put out a inflatable pool, some colorful balls, a couple of colorful sprinklers in our backyard along with the sandbox. My son wanted his grandparents to join and kept asking for days if they were going to be able to come. Well, since they were in India, and were planning to come later this year, I tried my best to explain to him all the grown up, practical reasons why they couldnt be here. Till my Dad, who has recently become a proud subscriber to a high speed internet connection in India, said, ‘Well, can you switch on the video camera and keep it on so that we can see the party, and maybe join in that way’.

That sounded a little Star Trekkie to me at first, and just the kind of situation where my husband or I would be hunching over the computer trying to rein in technology while the guests cooled their heelps, but amazingly, and with surprisingly few glitches it worked.

A bit of background here -we use skype, and this time on our trip to India we presented the grandparents with a cool video camera that has great quality and resolution. We have the same camera, so once setup is complete, video conferencing is actually pretty easy and smooth.

So they were able to see the cake being cut and the kids playing around with the new toys and tucking into chocolate frosted chocolate vanilla ‘farm  animals’ cake. They caught my son licking roses off the petit fours. They probably even caught my huge belly blocking the view occasionally (everyone asks me if I am carrying twins!). We just kept the camera on – didnt really ‘tend’ to it or video conference by talking back and forth. Some of our friends helped by orienting the camera around now and then. Over all it wasnt disruptive or time consuming. 

My son knew his grandparents were watching but to me, it was just so gratifying to have them watch as I celebrated their grandsons birthday. I remembered all those times when I was celebrating my birthday back in India be surrounded by a family whose presence was always just assumed and taken for granted. Now that we are all in different cities, even continents, I guess technology helps us get a bit closer.

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8 Comments

  1. Suki

    Wow, I didnt know skype works so well. Most video conferencing with home videos I have seen have poor quality

  2. Anonymous

    This is a cool idea. I will try it. I want to know the names of the products.

  3. S Rawat

    I think video conferencing has come a long way. I would like the name of products also.

  4. Pry

    Was it clear? I got a cam last year but wasnt at all clear..Got a cheap one..How much does this one cost?

  5. riya

    I agree Kushi.Without Technology we will miss out many things in our life and this is one of them. Me and my Husband came to US 4 years back and we have been using this for 4 years now. We don’t use Skype(I guess it awesome) we just use Yahoo chat.Both my parents and Inlaws have cameras and works perfectly well. I am happy you could do that and make ur son happy.

  6. Sands

    Congratulations to babe and the proud parents! I am sure it must have been heart melting for grandparents!! We were using D-link video phone on both ends which attaches with the TV and your a phone. You can talk endlessly while seeing each other. the novelty has dieddown for us as we used it way too much:-). bt, for this also, high speed internet is needed at both ends.

  7. Khushi

    Thanks everyone for your comments and wishes. It was heart rending, and I feel grateful for the technology. Pry, this one was expensive – maybe the whole set came to 100$.

  8. ranu.dattagupta

    Khushi,
    It was indeed a very nice idea to have your parents nearer while you were celebrating your son’s b’day. Yes technology has done wonders to our lives, who uses it though.
    But I must share my experience while I was a young parent in the US, Many years ago, with a small baby, celebrating her first b’day in Pittsburgh. My parents didn’t even see her by that time but during the celebrations, my parents were IN MY MIND all the time.
    I guess the mind -camera and the fast track wire connection , ESP, worked at my time.
    Best wishes for your son for his b’day.
    I do enjoy reading your blog.
    Well wisher from India

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