Gone are the days when an invitation to a party filled the heart with much joy. But then, life is so very different when you are six and have an evening of birthday cake, games and take-home goodies to look forward to. Sigh. At the wrong side of 40, I find my heart sinking at the thought of another party. Joy has been replaced by dread and the only piñata I look forward to smashing has an uncanny resemblance to the host's head!
There's no way you can escape. The doors are locked. You might consider jumping out of the balcony in extreme cases. Death seems preferable to this ordeal.
If all of this sounds rather extreme to you, perhaps you haven't had the good fortune to be invited to the wrong kind of parties. Thank your lucky stars! If you had, you might have seen the woman sulking in the corner, glowering at all and sundry, blaming the world for her misfortune. Yes, I'm the one who couldn't get away.
Do you feel my pain? Read on to find out whether you have been to any of these dos:
1. Musical soiree
This one is strangely reminiscent of a hostage crisis. You and a motley group of individuals are taken captive by the host or hostess and tortured by an unending medley of songs (original or covers)/instrument recitals/recitation/impromptu dance performances. One after another. Then another. And another. If that wasn't enough, there are a few people recording your agony on their smartphones, though I don't think any television channel would be interested in airing this show. There's no way you can escape. The doors are locked. You might consider jumping out of the balcony in extreme cases. Death seems preferable to this ordeal.
2. Potluck party
This one makes Breaking Bad look like Candy Land. This isn't the kind of potluck party where you show up with Tupperware filled with your signature curry. Potluck means pot-luck. Everyone around you is puffing away to glory, squinting their eyes and laughing a great deal. They are on top of the world while you stumble from one corner to the next trying to find some clean air to breathe. Gasp!
3. Selfie party
You better have your best clothes on for this one. Picture perfect makeup and not a hair out of place. Oh, did I forget the pout? The hostess will corner you at every step, whip out her smartphone and click selfies. One near the stairs, another next to the dining table, another one on the balcony. Oh dear, the light is too dim on the balcony, my double chin looks exaggerated. Let's get one with the dog and the goldfish in the bowl instead. If you are lucky, you can throw her smartphone out the window when she's not looking. Dogs don't just eat homework these days. That's your excuse.
4. Spiritual party
This one is a real nuisance if you are a non-believer like me. You can't hurt the host's feeling or religious sentiments so you fall in line without overt protest. If you think the ordeal ends with the prayers, you're wrong. There's song and dance too. Much swaying, clapping and waving of hands. Perhaps you can stretch your arms out a wee bit and strangle the host. That might end the agony.
5. Housewarming party
This one should be called "Buy Me A Present Party" because that is what you are expected to do. Buy a ridiculously expensive gift in exchange for a conducted tour around someone's new home. Marvel at the godawful décor, bizarre colour scheme and the rather strange curios and paintings the host brought back from his latest trip (read Chatuchak Market) abroad. I'd rather courier the gift and skip the tour. Thanks but no thanks!
6. Office party
You see them every single day of the year. Why on earth would you want to socialize with them over some flat Coca Cola, chips and stale pizza while Daler Mehndi belts out ancient balle balle numbers over a music system? Oh wait, there's Antakshari too. You are herded into a circle and you have to start singing Bollywood songs. A for Aaja Aaja Mein Hoon Pyar Tera! Arrrrrrrgh, come and kill me now!
7. Kiddie birthday party
Three words for this one. Are you nuts? Wailing children, maids in tow and yummy mummies do not a good party make. There's one person in the crowd who's looks sorrier than you do. The magician that the host hired to do magic tricks for the little brats. Wait a minute, isn't he getting paid for the magic tricks? If you pay me, I might show you a trick. I will do the disappearing act for you!
8. Wellness party
If you think discussing nutrition, dietary supplements and fitness was my idea of fun, you might want to take a hike. Literally and figuratively. It would do you a world of good. Keep me far away from the nuts and seeds. Those are for birds and I'm not one. In fact, I don't particularly like birds or bird food. The lecture on transfats will be wasted on me so spare me the invite. I'm going to Wendy's instead. I have a date with their Baconator!
9. Diwali party
I'm quite sure Agatha Christie was invited to a Diwali party once and her angst at the ordeal drove her to write Cards on the Table where the host Mr Shaitana was murdered after a bridge get-together! Get the drift? I'm a writer too and I might end up murdering you in my next book. So save me the invite and keep your cards close to your chest for this one!
10. Theme party
Dressing up as Morticia Addams for an entire evening is not my thing. Don't get me wrong. I love ghosts and ghouls but only in books and movies. I don't want to mingle with them in a party over chicken tikka kabab and Breezers. I'm not too fond of movie stars either so don't expect me to turn up with my bouffant hairstyle, flared pants and over-sized goggles if you are planning a Bollywood retro party. I tried to make myself look like Whitney Houston for a party once when I was a teen but an allergic reaction to the lacquer from the perm made my face swell up like a puffer fish. Need I say more?