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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

A ban on kitty parties?

Khushwant Singh   February 24, 2013
First Published: 09:35 IST(24/2/2013) | Last Updated: 18:57 IST(24/2/2013)

Government is mulling to ban kitties. Highly placed sources say the move is aimed at making kitty-going mommies stay at home and teach their children since the education system in the state is seen as collapsing. Other than this, say sources, the government felt that the art of making pickles, saag and makki di roti, was also dying, as women were seen spending more time in five-star hotels and not preserving Punjab’s cooking heritage. Sources also indicate that the word ‘couple kitty’ would incur harsher punishment as it was against the natural law of kitties.

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Hang on! Before you revolt, faint, throw a tantrum — thinking of this law as highly regressive, Taliban kind, and against the hyperbole called ‘Women’s lib’— imagine if this law were to come into force in reality. Ha ha, laughs this lady from Ludhiana, according to whom the most affected would be the women from her hometown. This would dash the hopes, dreams and fantasies of thousands of kitty goers who spend so much of their life, brain and money on kitty parties.

But heck! What does a ‘kitty’ mean that the very word raises the hackles of a government, brings contentment on the face of a woman, and a frown on the foreheads of men like me, as we find ourselves shelling out lakhs of rupees each year to a cause which breeds... you know what I mean? Come on, stop calling me a male chauvinistic pig (MCP) and let’s delve a bit more into this kitty business.

Kitty, as per the Oxford dictionary, stands as: Chiefly India, a regular social gathering of women in which each member contributes money to a central pool and lots are drawn to decide which member will get the entire sum.

Ha, laughs my friend again, as if Oxford was a child lost in a Kumbh Mela. Your Mr Oxford and Mr Collins are absolutely clueless as Ludhiana defies all dictionary meanings — its ‘kitty’ version evolves into luncheons, wine-and-cheese meets, etc, etc, says this friend who has just returned from one.

Oops! For, where else do you find a kitty party, where if you have purchased a solitaire or a pair of Prada sunglasses recently, you ought to be carrying the receipt. Just in case someone thought that the latter was a fake from your Bangkok trip. Or the big-ticket luncheon meets where topics vary from where to buy the Swarovski bra straps to the latest designer wear for a kid’s birthday party. Or where the theme is as catchy as mom-in-law bashing. And, the banquet next door has a diametrically opposite agenda — let’s bitch about daughters-in-law.

Oh stop it, will you, orders my friend. What is the purpose of asking all these nonsensical questions? You are a man with ‘chhoti soch’. It’s a nouveau expression for women emancipation. Big cars, i-Phones, Samsung Galaxy — all being integral grammar of this expression. And, we women can swipe our American Express for any amount should it be required to make it the talk of the town, country or even the continent, my friend says.

My purpose is general knowledge, I respond feebly to the lady’s questions.

For example, what is the difference between a hen party and a kitty? And, why are the women social gatherings named after birds and animals?

For instance, as per Mr Google, the origin lies in the following fact — in 1719, kitty was a variant of kitten, perhaps influenced by kitty “girl, young woman”, (c.1500), and it was originally a pet form of Catherine. As for the hen party, the word is picked up from a farm scene where hens hung out together pecking and gabbling.

Wow, did I just put my foot in my mouth? But, correct me if I am wrong, when I suggest that isn’t kitty playing in the mind at all times, when shopping at Tiffany at London’s Solane Square, or at a LouisVuitton?

Oh you ignorant man, it is instant nirvana, for which, you men have to go as far as the Himalayas, replied this woman friend with a chuckle.

The columnist is a Punjab-based author and journalist.

singhkhushwant@hotmail.com

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