Knock knock...Who’s that? The party season. Now don’t say party season who, because I have no funny answer and you jolly well know that there is a mature life beyond knock-knock jokes. We have entered September, and only a couple of months before the lovely winters set in. Your wardrobe, bustling with colourful, fancy jackets will soon be out to hide all the flab, and your social life will be abuzz with invitation to attend parties of all shapes and sizes. Aur hamaare yahan parties ka ek aur synonym hai — drinks. There may or may not be a medical evidence to support this, but many of us firmly believe that our love for all things alcoholic suddenly sees a new high in the festive season. From thanksgiving to wedding cocktail functions, some people will be photographed only with a glass in their hands. It’s another thing that mostly the glass is covered with a white paper napkin, a phenomenon I have never quite understood, but we’ll leave that discussion for another day.
Haan, toh if you are a party animal, this is heaven-on-earth time for you, whether or not your poor body can hold all the alcohol invasion. But, pray, if you happen to be the partner of someone who can’t hold his or her drink, then your calmness goes for a royal toss.
Today, we are going to talk about you — the best friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife — of someone who always has a drink too many at parties, and leaves you stressed... and embarrassed.
Extensive studies done in my mental laboratory show that this stress is the primary cause of over 87% of the morning-after jhagdaas or quarrels among couples. So, let’s look at the calmness tips of dealing with this stress.
Note: Please don’t expect me to, for the heck of it, start with listing out the harmful effects of drinking. Mostly because all of us, including the one who drinks himself or herself silly, don’t need this column to know that it’s not doing any good to the body.
1. Stop feeling apologetic: for something the other person is doing. We’re all responsible for our own behaviour and actions, and you feeling embarrassed or giving explanations for the nonsense that your partner is rattling off after six drinks, won’t make any sense either. If the other guests at the party happen to be your friends, and possess the basic common sense to know that a drunk person’s talk invariably gets slurry and repetitive, they wouldn’t be judgmental. And if they are, it’s their problem, not yours. “Inko vaise itni nahi chadti, aaj khaali pet pee liya” kind of justifications don’t really help the situation, and attract needless attention to your partner’s drunk state. Just be normal and cheerful, and do remember that most people you keep saying sorry to, are themselves high.
2. Make that drink, if possible: Don’t know why, but people derive a weird pleasure in making large drinks for those who are already, evidently, drunk. In most informal parties, there is that one person — either the host or someone close — who takes the responsibility of fixing everyone’s drinks. This person is a sadist. While your drunk partner will keep saying ‘make it really small’ (while not meaning it at all), this self-appointed bartender happily keeps handing over Patiala pegs, one after the other. If it’s stressing you out, try and beat this person. Not literally. At fixing the drink. There will be resistance — arre aap baitho, I’ll get the drink — but hold your ground. Say something stupidly emotional like, “I want to put all my love in the next drink” or some such nonsense, but make that drink yourself. Then you’ll be in much better control of what and how much your partner is drinking. And oh, while fixing that drink, for once, be environmentally incorrect and don’t save water. You get the hint, don’t you?
3. Never humiliate your partner in front of people: Rolling your eyes, taunting, sulking or publicly showing your anger never helps a relationship. If anything, it gives a chance to people to further fuel your frustration by expressing fake sympathy for you. Save all that’s pent-up in you for a discussion in private, when your partner is in a sober state and much more conducive to understanding your grudge. If you behave with dignity at a party, you subconsciously also accord a lot of dignity to your partner, who needs it at that time. Also, while having that discussion in the morning about your partner’s behaviour, stay away from sarcasm and focus more on pointing out why their drunk behaviour was objectionable. A friend of mine who was sick of her husband acting all weird after a few drinks, made a video of his antics — very discreetly while pretending to take photos and not in a mocking way — and showed it to him the next morning. He’s much more careful about his drinking at parties now. Sometimes all it takes is proof, presented with positivity. Kar ke dekho.
And now a few words for the one who ends up all drunk. Dekho yaar, it’s great to have fun at a gathering, and we are all entitled to enjoyment. So if yours involves having a few drinks, it’s absolutely okay, but not at the cost of your partner’s peace of mind.
No matter what the rule book says, every person who drinks knows, deep inside, when he or she is crossing the limit of their body’s endurance. Just stay true to your own limit, and you won’t ever create a scene. And when it comes to drinking, your responsibility towards the safety of your loved ones and others around you is way more important than anything else.
So there’s nothing brave or intelligent in declaring ‘gaadi toh mein hi drive karoonga’, when you know it’s absolutely unsafe to drive when drunk. Also, never drink too much to show off. Whether you are a guy or a girl, how much alcohol your body can digest is no indicator of being progressive, or a great party animal. As someone who enjoys her drink, I can hardly sound preachy. But trust me, sticking to rules that you’ve set for your own self can be a lot of fun. And the bonus? No nasty hangovers!
Sonal Kalra has joined a course in bartending. Patiala pegs, here she comes. Mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/sonal.kalra Follow on Twitter @sonalkalra