Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Happening Party Scene

With the Boy at the fag end of his graduate career and me so knee deep in my proffessional
one that I can barely remember grad school, it feels nice to attend the odd Indian Graduate Student Party. We are by no means regulars at these do's but a recent Christmas cum Farewell Party (yes, Grad students organise things like that!!) left me thinking and here is what I thunk:

The Desi Man Throws A Bash Party: These are thrown by cool single men, usually a pack of four who form a household, involve copious amounts of liquor and food (think chicken, paneer, rice and a big jar of Crisco) and loud bhangra music. Usually eighty percent of the crowd is in grad school studying some sort of engineering, everyone knows every one else's advisor and most conversations are about (you guessed it!!)-grad school. Women are few and far between and easy to spot as they sit/stand in a corner all by themselves holding the sorry odd glass of coke. After dinner you may sit around and watch some long forgotten cricket match between India and Pakistan and get all excited and sweaty if you are into that sort of thing. There might even be some random dancing if the group is adventurous but please note that both forms of after dinner activity are strictly all male. Women just stand around with bored expressions. On the other hand if you are the cool woman (you know, the one who actually has a favorite beer *nudge, nudge, wink wink) then you drink yourself silly and proceed to enjoy yourself. Well what else do you do when subjected to pick up lines outlawed in 1842 when in an inebriated, happy state? You could try talking to the other woman, but I would advise against it. I am told that even smart-ish men with no hang-ups about talking to women fare miserably. Any attempt at an intelligent conversation is met with dramatic hand movements (especially of the ring finger, if married), much fidgetting with some random necklace or the mention of a much loved fiance in Rampur village, Jaunpur District, Chapra, Bihar, India. So enter this arena of repressed sexuality at great risk to your own.

Good Natured, Convent Educated Indian Girl Seeks...Party: These are hosted by groups of single women (who again live together) with good home cooked, Indian food, no music and absolutely no booze. Only guys with cars, good manners and the right horoscopes are allowed entry into these parties. No dirty jokes please, only PG-13 conversation about how much one misses one's Mommy is allowed. Infact you may even have an impromptu party game where folks compete in telling their personal horror stories (about living far, far away from Mommy, obviously!!). Unlike the male version, here one is expected to let out load groans of appreciation after the dinner, a few belches may be going a bit too far though. That's it. The end. Go home.

The Domesticated Lot Entertains Party: Hosted by couples for other couples, these are full of in-house jokes, good food, party games and lazing around. Booze may or may not be available. Single people or folks who don't know the host couple from their single days should never ever go to these. If said domesticated lot has discharged their societal, cultural and ancestral duties and have recently come to possess a bundle of joy, then forget it (unless off course you love free booze more than your sanity). It's not a party, darling. Its a full blown cooing, gurgling and funny noises session with bundle of joy providing the first two from its vantage point and you creating the funny noises in a vain attempt at establishing communication.

There are some others too, like the social outcasts party (thrown by people with convoluted love lives who want to make new friends) or the we-are-an-item-so-say-our-parents party (thrown by the we-are-just-friends couple at the eve of their departure to motherland for matrimonial purposes) or the surprise birthday party and its one-cake-for-eating-and-another-for-trashing varietal. And then there are my parties.....

Disclaimer: Please, please, please the views presented above are of those of my viciously misanthropic, carefree, listless,wanton and immoral alter ego and should in no way affect your judgement when deciding the guest list for the next desi party.

GOOGLE SEARCH OF THE DAY (till now):fennel chicken soup


Buchu said...

this is so incredibly accurate. i live in dread of category A- both the parties and the men. single indian male grad students (esp engineering sorts) are my all time nightmare. some day i want to write a post about how so many of the indians here don't like me and think i'm a "coconut", but i'm a bit afraid that i'll piss off already pissed off people who i know read my blog. hence this not so surreptitious comment on ur blog to say well done for a really lovely post :):)

wandering dervish said...

ah, fatafati!:-)
(and i am reminded of supratik's fatafati in galli):-)

bull's eye, this.
and imagine the plight of the likes of me who'd have to wait for your parties!
especially with the atlantic in between:-)


Beau-ti-ful :-)

Indira said...

I'm curious, if you throw a party, what would that be? Would it be like 1,2,3,4 you described or somewhat different? Is there a 5 in your list?:):)

anahita said...

What about the ubiquitous pot-luck parties of chhole, veg biryani, and raita?? You can't not mention those where food is scarce (unpalatable) and alcohol flows..

Great post!

Anyesha said...

buchu:Its funny that I never encountered the nightmarish single indian male engineering student species in India, not even in engineering school. Must be something about crossing the Atlantic that sets about this transformation.

wandering dervish: Thank you, thank you. The band misses you and so do we.

greatbong: arre aap bhi!!

indira: I usually like throwing dinner parties for may be 4-6 people at the max. and the crowd is usually rather diverse for any such behavior. But on that rare occassion that we have entertained larger (less diverse) groups we have not been able to prevent the crystallisation of the women from the main group and the sedimentation of the men around the food table.

anahita: yes, those too. And what about the my-mom-and-dad-are-here-from-India-to-cook-for-the-entire-Indian-community feasts which are so deplorably painful. Thanks for stopping by. Love your name, interestingly I always thought it was a Parsi name.

Anonymous said...

I like your post. There is also great similarity about the kind of discussion people have in those parties. Like comparing about things in India and America, talking about old TV serials, where do you get chieper things and many more.

Anyesha said...

anon: Thanks. And don't forget the interminable discussions about visa status and green cards.

Inkblot said...

Loved it!