The only reason I go to parties is to watch people.
I love to tell a story. Most of my conversations are punctuated with, ‘You know I met this guy last week…’ If you ever have a conversation with me, you will learn close to nothing of me. However, you will definitely hear of the retards I’ve met in the run up to meeting you.
Also, I would have watched you, and would have walked away with another story – you. Does that make me depraved? Some would say so. But would the chat bore you? I really doubt it. I’m not saying that I’m good at conversation. It’s just that I’m just slightly above average when it comes to running into idiots and then telling others about it later.
But in my defence, I don’t take names, ever.
Since moving to Chandigarh, I’ve been to a few parties and I’ve met a whole bunch of new and improved imbeciles. One such November party, that I’ve wanted to write about, stands out.
The thing is I am twenty-something. Most of my friends are twenty-something. The only people I know who aren’t twenty-something are acquaintances I have no choice over – family, colleagues and women I fall in love with (generally well into their thirties, married, with multiple kids and IMHO a bastard of a husband; I know I’m so very sorted). The point I’m trying to make is that when I’m invited for a party, I will most certainly assume that the average invitee age is twenty-something. Worst-case scenario – average age 29. Period.
A month back, a Chandigharite friend invited me for a party that could easily pass off as a Geriatrics Anonymous (Chandigarh Chapter) weekly session.
Everybody was so… so… so… old. There were only three in the entire party who had black hair and one was a Labrador. Most of them did not know their own age – having been born in a time when calendars were not yet invented and sun-dials were used to tell time. The only accurate way of telling their age was either sawing through their trunk to count the number of rings on them or carbon dating. Pseudo-motivational pep talk one liners like ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life’ have no bearing on these people.
Uncle, if you woke up this morning and were able to stand with absolutely no assistance, without having lost bladder control overnight, today might, in remote probability, be the first hour of the rest of your fleeting hours, but maybe the last also; I can guarantee nothing and you just might die. Also, you might not survive the next sneeze.
At one point in the party, I was introduced to a couple of people in this odd manner - “This is Sethi Uncle. He’s Simran’s (the hostess) granddad. He’s an octogenarian.” The stress on octogenarian was so intense that it might have convinced a Normal-English speaking person into thinking that he’s a doctor of some kind; perhaps a vet who treats octopuses.
Mommy, when I grow up, I want to be an astronaut; or at least a sexagenarian.
Speaking of Simran (Name unchanged as it doesn’t matter. They’re a dime a dozen in this part of the world. Simran is the north-Indian human nomenclature equivalent of naming your dog Tiger) – what we have in her is a thirty-ish woman, born, brought-up and bred in Chandigarh, with an accent that is a cross between that of the Queen of England and the Maharaja of Patiala – plain and utterly incomprehensible.
I don’t blame her actually – in any case half the Punjabis think Punjab (Summer Capital – Chandigarh, Winter Capital - Chandigarh) is an island just off the east coast of England (Summer Capital – Southall, Winter Capital - Toronto) and the other half think Punjab (Summer Capital – Southall, Winter Capital - Southall) is an island just off the east coast of England (Summer Capital – Southall, Winter Capital – Southall).
The woman took it upon herself to spend her entire evening explaining to me the ventilation details of her house. She stood in the centre of her hall, arms wide open and twirled a couple of hundred times. She then mimed a swimmer attempting a butterfly stroke with one arm and breast stroke with the other and said, “Do you see? On a good day, the winds are allowed free circulation in my home. Otherwise, do you see those windows? When the weather acts up, I use them to control the winds.”
There are billions of dollars being spent in keeping scientists afloat on the melting polar ice caps that threaten to submerge the world in 2012, when all that is really needed is a little wind-control from our indigenous gusty wind goddess Simran.
Also, the woman had clearly traveled all over the world and made no attempt to hide it. She’d been to London, Southall, Birmingham, Patiala, Bhatinda, Pathankot, Southall, Birmingham, Southall and Singapur. The city that she loved the most was (to quote her) ‘the quaintly exotic Singapur’. And when asked about her favorite place within Singapur, I learned that she was floored by ‘the fabulous Santosha Island’.
There was more to come.
An extremely murderous looking man then walked up to me, introduced himself and out of nowhere spent an entire hour trying to find out my family’s bank balance and medical history. He was awfully proud of the fact that his daughter was my age (you have not read this incorrectly; he was proud of it, almost thankful to my parents), and that she had received the finest engineering degree from Punjab University and was now working as a mechanic in Birmingham. She was a prize catch, apparently.
After the ‘my daughter is purrfect phor you son’ monologue, dodgy uncle was expecting something to happen – an epiphany, an orgasm or a proposal? I didn’t know what. But there was expectation.
I was so scared I have no recollection of what happened afterwards. I think I might be engaged to a car mechanic in Birmingham.
Oh dear God! Chandigarh - I still loathe you.
P.S. Refined is not sold here