The one thing which disappeared completely during the pandemic was parties. Not political ones (I wished they had!!) but evening ones. Alas those were the days when whiskey flowed like the river Volga, and intellectual conversations got metaphysical as the evening went by, only to be interspersed by cacophonies remotely resembling songs induced by generous drunkenness in certain afflicted individuals. 

Some groups even tried parties from home (the less successful cousin of WFH), sit with your own drink and chips and say cheers to grainy zoom screens of like-minded idiots who have nothing better to do. Imagine.

With the receding of COVID (barring isolated pockets like China, home turf for the virus where strong, entrenched variants like Omicron XYZ continue to offer stiff resistance ) social gatherings and parties are making a comeback, and that too with a vengeance…!!

“I’m an introvert stuck in a sales job. And all my life I’ve felt out of place at a party.”

At best like the plain wallpaper, quietly observing the idiosyncrasies of human behaviour. For me, the meaningless conversation runs out of steam (like batteries on the new electric scooters), and I’m left to ruminate on my own awkwardness coupled with the brouhaha all around.

There are so many different animals in a party. Pardon the pun, after all, man is a social animal. There are some who live to drink. “Ah Scotch whiskey ..!! Straight from the highlands of Scotland, flowing with cream. I must make this bottle my own.” With every peg these people become louder and uninhibited often in their relentless freedom, much to the chagrin of other teetotallers who by now would have downed a tanker of juice or soda. A few of them evolve into reincarnations of Kishore kumar or Jagjit singh, singing songs one after the other. 

A certain kind of party animal considers himself a connoisseur of alcohol, immediately changing from mere mortal to bartender (like Clark Kent to Superman) as soon as the first peg is down.

“They will ask everyone, especially the pretty women, ‘What’s your poison ?’.”

Well, dude, it’s usually rat poison but for you, arsenic will work.

Then there are those party animals who are always prim and proper in their dapper evening wear, looking at every mirror to check their angles. Pleasantly smiling the same smile with every person. And others who only get to answer all their emails during their party, barely looking up from their mobile.

Some animals like political conversations, turning the sofa into a roman senate of sorts. Some are perennial complainants, this is bad, that is bad, our time is bad, my boss is bad, the air is bad. Dude relax, at least you are the only good left in this world. 

Some become life coaches. As they get higher on the alcohol, they become philosophers and sermonise on every aspect of life. Health, exercise, career growth, how to manage your boss etc etc. They go on forever and ever. Nat King Cole sang the song very aptly – ‘Rambling rose, rambling rose, why you ramble… no one knows ?!’ 

And the smokers who hang out outside on the balcony finding their nicotine releases like pariahs, ashtrays once the pride of every table are now extinct. 

“Of course, the heart of any party is the food.”

The hostess is usually mulling around everyone making sure people are well heaped up on their plates. There is always the difficult question – Ghar me banana hai ?’ (is it made at home?) Dude whatever the country of origin, just gobble it up, you ain’t getting nothing at your home. Of course, some folks are always on a diet, ‘Just some lettuce for me please..!!’

And the most memorable thing after the party is the complete wreck your home becomes when everyone has gone & the mood lighting is still on. Dirty dishes and spilt over sofas, piles of glasses stare at you after their ordeal, imploring: spare us for at least a few days. 

After all, this is done, we are often left wondering why did we do this party in the first place? The party animals have left, leaving the zoo behind. At least fool yourself by saying, ‘It was good fun !!’

Get Navaneel’s latest book Moonrise and Memories: Contemporary Poems to nourish your soul by clicking here.

Navaneel Kar

President, Tata Consumer, Certified RYT 200, published poet

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