The season is here. It’s raining festivals, there are back-to-back card parties, every week brings something new. And then there are the weddings. It never ceases to amaze us why everyone wants to get married now, when no one has the time or energy for one more celebration. To top it all, ‘the lovely weather’ energises everyone to play the host and there are so many house parties, it’s enough to make even the most hardened party animal keel over.
The festive-party season, meant to bring laughter, joy and mirth into our lives, becomes a veritable circus, with everyone struggling to catch up on sleep, juggling home, office, clothes, children, families. And getting super stressed in the bargain. Some socialites end up fleeing the city, just to get away from it all.
But this year, we tell you how to enjoy the season, without the worry and strain of partying.
We know, we know, there are two kinds of people in the world; the organised ones, and the rest. But the only way to last through this season is to get your calendar out, and start prioritising. Mark every event and party that you simply cannot miss. Skip everything you can – you can’t keep everyone happy. “Plus, there’s normal life too, going on alongside,” says model Ramneek Pantal, who always has a hectic season. “Grocery shopping, office work, kids and their stuff, making time for parents if they stay away from you, everything has to be kept in mind.” Pantal plans her season by avoiding too many midweek parties, and attending one shindig a night, rather than three, if the next morning is a busy one.
“If need be, I skip a few dos,” she adds. Close friends will understand, and as for those who want you around just to add to the numbers, you shouldn’t really care about them. If you try to squeeze everyone in, chances are you’ll spend all your time looking at your watch and rushing from one place to the next, which will make you stressed and anxious. Still, turning people down can be stressful in itself. But learn that you can’t take responsibility for other people’s emotions. “People expected me to attend parties even when I was nine months pregnant! That’s when I learnt, me first, people’s egos later,” says Pantal.
On the one free day you have, take out the clothes you want to wear through the week, and get your accessories organised too.
Creativity is the magic word for this season. It reflects in the way you dress, entertain or do up your home, but you also need it to balance your life. So after you’re done planning, get resourceful. Go grocery shopping on the way to a friend’s home (find a good outlet there and stash the stuff in your car). If you are a couple, take two cars or hire cabs if you’re in a big group to save the trouble of picking up and dropping everyone (no one is ever ready to leave when you are!)
Keep extra clothes in the car for a change anywhere, even if it’s in the host’s bathroom. Pantal and her husband always go in two cars. “My husband and I put our children to bed, then leave in separate cars. Since my husband loves playing cards, I come back home earlier than he does, because I have to get up at 6 to send the kids to school,” she says.
Don’t be rigid about sticking to your to-do list. If one particular task is taking time, get on to another one. Pace is the key.
Take power naps
We are giving you a guide, not a magic wand. So don’t expect any false promises such as ‘you shall get your daily sleep’. You win some, you lose some. If you want your beauty sleep, you shouldn’t have any ambitions of having a hectic social life. So, here’s the truth: you will exert yourself, you will be a little stressed, but deal with it. Card parties usually start late and carry on till the wee hours of the morning. Ration and stagger your sleep, says fashion designer Samant Chauhan, “Leave a party by 3am, not 4.30am, that way you buy yourself a couple of extra hours. During the day, if you have a bit of free time, learn to take a power nap while sitting at your desk or in the car if you have a driver. Or, get ready quickly, then relax on a chair while you wait for your partner to get ready. You will be surprised how revitalised you will feel.”
Work at work
Indians have it worse during the festive season; we have seven festivals, not just Christmas/Hanukkah. And this period is God’s way of saying, “I am watching your efficiency”. These are the weeks when work invariably gets more hectic, especially for those in retail, hospitality, entertainment and the media. So work faster. You can’t let work come in the way of having fun and vice versa.
Party regulars say they cut down on needless waste of time at the workplace – no cigarette and gossip breaks, long lunches, too many phone calls during work. This lets them finish their work in time to party. Also, foresee your workload. Says fashion designer Pawan Sachdeva, “I delegate work to the minutest detail to people in office for the next day. So that even if I get late, they know what to do.” After getting his four hours of sleep, he reaches office by 9.30am, takes stock and puts “things on a roll again”.
The biggest spillover of this season is the spillover from the waistband of your denims. But the food and merrymaking is exactly what you’ve been looking forward to, so you can’t avoid all that food and all those sweets. Page 3 regulars say the key is to cheat. Jewellery designer and party regular, Shalini Kochar, has dinner before she leaves for a party (sometimes she goes to three a night). “When I reach the venue, I just taste what’s on offer, rather than gorge. The times I don’t have my dinner, I eat like a pig.” Also, studies claim that drinking on an empty stomach increases one’s appetite because alcohol’s high carbohydrate content causes blood sugar levels to fluctuate. “If I let myself go a few times, I cover up in the next few days. I do eat the snacks so that the host is not offended but I pick the ones that are healthy and not fried, and avoid sweets,” adds Kochar.
Pantal, on the other hand, looks to the crockery for cues. She just picks a smaller plate before she heads to the buffet. Here’s a tip: When you’ve finished one serving, put a napkin on top of the empty plate to remind yourself that you’re full and not going back for a second helping! By all means have a few drinks, but drinking every day is not smart. “You’ll never get up in time, you will be tired, your face will be puffy. So nurse your drink. I take one, and stick with it,” says Kochar. “Anyway, I don’t need to be high to have fun. All my friends are around and the energy is great, so drinking can take a backseat.” Also, remind yourself of the last hangover you had. You don’t want to end up missing tomorrow’s party, right?
The other thing that takes a beating is your exercise routine (we’re talking to those who have one. If you don’t, this is not the season to start!). But make a conscious effort to keep to your schedule, even if you cut down on the duration of your exercise routine. Sachdeva says that he exercises for 30 minutes rather than an hour, and takes conscious steps to add more physical activity in his daily routine, like taking the stairs to his office and friends’ homes instead of lifts.
It will be hectic, but it will fun. And post the festive/party season, you can do what the party regulars do! Take a break!
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From HT Brunch, October 27
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