Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Party

- by Deepa Krishnan

We threw a Saturday lunch party yesterday (well, maybe that's the wrong way to phrase it - the party sort of threw itself).

You see, my husband is changing jobs, and his team from the old company wanted to organise a farewell party. The venue was our house.

The gang showed up with an amazing number of beer bottles. A plastic tub from the bathroom was rescued, filled with ice and water, and served as the chiller. The guys assured me that adding salt to the water would speed up the cooling process. "Three minutes for ice-cold bottles", they boasted. So my somewhat flummoxed maid was summoned and asked to dump salt into the tub. She thought (so did I) that the boys were nuts, but apparently salt reduces the freezing point of ice, or some such thing. Anyway, I was having wine, so I didn't really care :)

We live in a small apartment that is absolutely not capable of holding 20 people - but hey, this is Bombay - where we all know how to survive the super-dense local trains. Naturally, all through the afternoon, as the beer levels progressively increased, people showed a lot of creativity in finding places to sit / sleep / slouch (and straddle!)

The star of the show was our new music system - my husband's pet project, into which a substantial portion of the family fortune has been sunk. Through the afternoon, I heard not one, but several technical discourses on how to make the most of our Bose (what is it with men and gadgets?).

The laptop was rigged up to the system (so were mobile phones), and we had a merry procession of DJ's, each trying to educate the audience on what constitutes good music.

We started with lavni - a provocative song called 'Piklya Paanacha' - which was completely lost on the non-Marathi part of the group, but which I loved. It led to discussions on how lavni shows now work in the interior parts of Kolhapur and other districts, how the age of Mumbai dance bars is now over, and how - if you are on the inside track - you can see dance shows in Pondicherry of all places! If you want to hear/see the lavni song and dance, the link is here - and if you want a translation of the superbly rustic lyrics - dripping with innuendo and come-hither references, just ask me!!

Moving on from lavni - the gang had people from all parts of India, so we moved on to a wide assortment of other stuff - the Tamil gang played some good old Ilayaraja hits and some 'modern' Kollywood stuff (loud catcalls, etc!). There were classic Hindi movie songs from O P Nayyar; "50-years of Golden Bollywood", nostalgic stuff from Bob Dylan and Santana, and an assortment of blues and jazz.

There were repeated calls for music from Dilli 6 from me - I wanted to listen to what I call the achar song :) For me this song has become the quintessential summer afternoon song, and the sight of the sunlight filtering through the curtains made me want to hear it.

Surprisingly, no one asked for or played the newer Bollywood "party" numbers, except for one aborted attempt at the popular 'Pretty Woman' song from that Shah Rukh Khan starrer. I was kinda surprised. If there is one type of music that everyone in Bombay understands (especially after several rounds of beers), it is Bollywood dance music - a sort of universal common denominator not only in Bombay but across the country.

I don't have anything against the feel-good numbers that Bollywood produces - many are fantastic infectious songs that set your foot tapping. But I think I enjoyed our somewhat divergent musical afternoon more, simply because of all the inflections and variations we had. Tamil, Marathi, Hindi, English, old, new, modern, traditional and folk music - the songs were chosen by different people from different parts of the country, with different kinds of upbringing. There was a lot of laughter and shouting and booing, but it was good-natured fun, and every song was given its due chance to impress.

Later that night I thought about the party and reflected with a smile that maybe this sort of get together is why I like Bombay. The mix of people and all the different regional flavours is what makes this city a cosmopolitan joy to live in. The more we live side by side, the more we learn to listen to each other, the richer we become. I wish some of the intolerant idiots who are ruining the city with ther bigotry would learn this simple lesson.


Iain said...

Interestingly you refer to Mumbai as Bombay in your blog. Why?

Watched the You tube videos and love the Delhi 6 - Genda Phool one.

Deepa Krishnan said...

I don't really think about it as Bombay versus Mumbai, Iain. We use both words interchangeably. The article also has Mumbai used in one place, and if you plough through past posts you'll see Mumbai used more often than Bombay.

Tamanna Mishra said...

That's so true, what you said about Bombay get togethers. No other city, even metros, adapt to people the way Mumbai does. Brilliant post this was, and yes, this IS what I call a party! :)

pappu said...

Guys, take proud of gadgets and tools. It has been from stone age. Genes :)

devendra said...

This reminded me our parties at your place when we were in BISIL. It was really fun !

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful way to bond with family - blogging together!!! I am very impressed by this unique concept!

Your last paragraph really hit home! The more we learn about different cultures, the richer we are! Truer words have never been said.

Samir Khare said...

Hi, Awesome read - couldnt have described the day better - at least till the time we moved onto IPL and CSK vs DC :) .. Had a great time - enjoyed the music; at least the tracks which were allowed to be played for 50% of their playtime :)- thanks a ton!