Indian parties were insane. Honestly, you’d only know if you’ve been to one, but I’ll try my best to explain. First off, you do not casually walk in. You arrive, kick off your shoes by the front door if it’s formal--keep ‘em on if its not—take a deep breath, and make your rounds. First people to hit? All of the old people. They tend to sit in a big circle in a living room. Yes, they are intimidating. Whoever said that thing about strength in numbers was correct. It’s hard to approach, but you must go to each one and give them a hug or namaskar. This is basically when you take your two hands and touch their feet. They always reach down to raise you up and then their eyes get moist and they compliment you.
They may ask you questions, this is hard. You have to answer carefully, try and keep any sarcasm and humor out of your tone. This is strictly get-in get-out. Luckily, due to their ailments, or their sense of ‘nothing’s-better-than-sitting-on-this-couch-talking-to-the-rest-of-us-old-people-or-watching-the-cricket-match-on-TV’, this group does not tend to mingle. Ten minutes, tops, unless you get pulled into the endless black-hole of sitting with them and being pelted constantly with questions of grades, school, life—as if they really care. Trust me, they tune out or forget you’re talking. AVOID THIS AT ALL COSTS.
Next, you must go around talking to the various adults that are unfortunately lucid enough to be able to keep conversation and walk around. One thing to keep in mind: You will always find a new auntie or uncle at these parties. Always. Your parents can help you out here, they will always be the ones to drag you over and introduce you to your long lost second cousin twice removed on your father’s side. But, oh wait, he’s related to your mother too. Weird? Very. You’re in the home stretch now. Saying hi, giving hugs, and very quick small talk are mandatory. Then, if you’re lucky enough, your parents will let you off the hook and leave you to your devices.
The beginnings of these parties can be awkward, considering there are always new people to meet and see. Past rivalries—which can get very heated—tend to bring out the awkwardness. And it’s quite easy to see which families are snubbing who. If you’re lucky, the people in these parties are well-acquainted, and things should run smoothly. Everyone tends to linger around the food areas—the kitchen, the buffet, etc. This is where most of the stuff happens. Everyone sort of waits for the food to be served, this is when hunger is finally appeased, people settle down and get comfortable, and the party is half-way on its swing.
When you’ve finally been let loose, there are a few options. First, you must try and escape family members. You are looking for somewhere secluded—TV preferable—a basement or a bedroom works fine. In most houses there is some place with a game system or a computer set up. This is where the children tend to congregate. If you have brought your own thing—iPod, PSP, DS, book, god forbid—then you can choose to find your own corner. Hopefully there will be kids here you know. They know what you are going through. Bond through mutual frustration of being there! Half these kids should be your cousins anyways, so this shouldn’t be too hard. This is where you will endure the duration of your stay. Pop in a movie, head upstairs when its time for food, escape back to your child-haven if possible, and then don’t reappear until its time to go.
The dancing portion of these parties can either be great fun or the most horrible moment of your life—but that just depends on if you enjoy public humiliation or not. Those willing to laugh at themselves enough will get on the dance-floor and shimmy, sway, clap, and stamp their feet to the music. Hey, Indians got two things right—music and food. The music can be ridiculously intense, high-strung, full-energy, club-hopping remixes, or sometimes it’s more of the tabla-sitar origin. Most adults actually can get pretty crazy on the dance-floor, and if you enjoy have some shred of respect for your parents, you duck your head and leave.
Indian good-byes are another thing altogether. It’s like the horrors of saying hello, except worse. First off, when your parents give you your first warning that you’re about to leave, you have at least another forty-five minutes ahead of you. Often you are exhausted—delirious maybe—and you must go around saying good-bye to EVERYONE. Then you must listen while your parents make empty-promises to get together with your aunties sometime—you know this will never happen—and you finally get into your car, shout a few more good-byes out the window, and leave. Often your parents will immediately begin gossip about people at the party. If it’s juicy enough, tune in but pretend to sleep. If its not, just sleep.
Congrats, you have officially and successfully survived an Indian party! What’s that? Three more next weekend? OH JOY!
Long story short, by the time I was ten I had suffered through hundreds of parties, sat mortified in a corner while my parents bhangra’d the night away, and regaled my American friends with stories so scary they were kissing their parent’s anglo-saxon feet thank you for not being born Indian. So maybe I exaggerated sometimes, but that’s not the point. I was a veteran. Been there, done that, nothing new or crazy could be thrown my way. Not even the time when my somehow-related-to-me-aunt threw a whole platterful of tandoori chicken right through her kitchen window, not even when my third cousin gave birth in my own bathtub. Nope, I was jaded, seen it all.
Not until the night of my eleventh birthday did my entire world come to a screeching halt—it was at an Indian party of course, which I would soon learn was the stage for my life’s greatest dramas, highs and lows. For on the night of my eleventh birthday was the first time I saw him, and the last time I took and Indian party for granted…
My personal experience and creativity clash together to create this sarcastically real portrayal of love at first (or second, or third, or seventh) sight.
Author's Chapter Notes:
This was written fresh after returning from a notorious Indian party. Someone there inspired me so much, and the idea was formed in my mind. It was so irksome, that it wouldn't let me rest, and so I found myself at 3 in the morning grabbing my laptop and writing it out so I could finally have some rest...
Chapter End Notes:
Whew, that was a rush.
Tell me what you think!
Next Chapter should be up soon!
Tell me what you think!
Next Chapter should be up soon!