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Journalist, Author, Columnist. My Twitter handle: @seemagoswami

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Eat, drink and be marry!

How to survive the endless round of parties to celebrate everything 
from weddings to Christmas to the New Year

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. The time when, between
weddings, Christmas and the looming year-end, life turns into one big
party. Which sounds all nice and lovely when the party season has just
about kicked off, and there is a certain novelty value to getting all
blinged up and heading out for an evening of drinks, dance and (a very
late) dinner. But after about a fortnight or so (or a week, in my
case) this whole festive whirl thing begins to pall. And the very
thought of dressing up yet again, putting on a full face of make-up,
and slipping on those high heels for another evening of negotiating
mad traffic, loud music and indifferent food strikes terror in your

Well, at least, it does in mine. So, if you are anything like me,
here’s a ready primer for getting through this season and surviving to
party yet another year.

•       First off, eat before you leave the house. And I don’t just mean a
quick snack to take the edge off your hunger. I mean a proper meal
that will keep you going till around midnight when your hosts will
deign to serve dinner. That way you won’t be tempted to stretch a hand
out for all those deep-fried monstrosities being served up as canapés
to accompany the drinks. (I have a friend who actually downs a whole
glass of Isabgol so that her stomach is so full that she can’t eat one
unhealthy morsel when she’s out. But frankly, I wouldn’t go so far.)
Then, when dinner is finally on the table, you can tuck in with a
clean conscience.

•       Pace yourself when it comes to drinks. It is tempting to keep
knocking them back as you struggle to make yourself heard above the
thumping beats provided by the DJ. But do try and resist. You don’t
want just as thumping a hangover the next day. If you’re drinking
wine, have a glass of water for every glass of wine you down. If
you’re drinking spirits make sure to dilute them with lots of ice and
mixers. And if you don’t want to drink at all but don’t know to repel
all those “Arre yaar, have one whiskey, na!” there’s a simple way to
do it. Get a glass of water, add lots of ice and lemon and claim that
you’re drinking vodka. Nobody will care enough to take a sniff of your
drink to confirm.

•       Have a buddy system going with your friends, in which each of you
pledges to rescue the one who has been pinned down by a party bore for
more than ten minutes. It helps if you have worked out a few ‘Help
Me!’ gestures in advance instead of just looking around wildly for
rescue. If you don’t have anyone you can depend on (because they are
all getting steadily sloshed in the corner) fall back on the
tried-and-tested ‘startled look, smile and wave’ technique. This
involves taking a quick look beyond your torturer’s shoulder, widening
your eyes in surprise, smiling delightedly, waving wildly to someone
in the distance, and excusing yourself with, “Sorry, but I must say
hi…” Scamper off quickly before the bore follows you across the room.

•       At wedding receptions you couldn’t do worse than adopt a technique
that I have perfected over the years. Get there early so that enough
people can register your presence. Grab a drink if you must. And then
queue up to greet the newly-wedded couple as they stand on stage. Once
you get there, hand over the envelope/present, pose for a picture
(thereby leaving photographic proof of your attendance), bounce off
the stage, do one whirl of the party greeting everyone you know and
head straight on home. On a good day, you can be in and out of the
reception in 20 minutes flat.

•       If small talk isn’t your thing and the prospect of making inane
conversation with social acquaintances strikes you as a mind-numbing
waste of time, well then, treat parties as your own personal workout
session. Hit the dance floor as soon as you can, and then stay there
all night long, jiving away until it is time for dinner. (Wear your
fitbit if you want to know just how many steps you have notched up and
how many calories you have burned; you can then go to bed in a
self-congratulatory haze.)

•       And that brings me to the most important survival trick of all:
comfortable shoes. That doesn’t mean you need to wear flats. It just
means that you should steer clear of those vertiginous stilettoes
(which have a way of sinking into the wet ground at every outdoor
event, pegging you in place in the most embarrassing of ways).
Instead, opt for platforms or wedges or even a block heel that wont
make your feet ache by the end of the evening. If it makes you feel
any better, remember your shoes are not visible beneath that sari or
lengha anyway. And even if they were, in that crush nobody would even

So dance the night away; and survive another day in the mad scramble
that is the annual party season.

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