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Eat, drink and be marry!

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

brunch Updated: Dec 16, 2017 23:12 IST
Seema Goswami
Weddings, Christmas and the looming year-end ensure that life around this time turns into one big party
Weddings, Christmas and the looming year-end ensure that life around this time turns into one big party(iStock)

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 heart.

After a fortnight of the whole festival whirl thing, the very thought of dressing up yet again strikes terror in your heart

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 whisky, 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 10 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 stilettos (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 lehenga anyway. And even if they were, in that crush nobody would even notice.

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

From HT Brunch, December 17 , 2017

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