When my grandmother first met my pale, Afrikaans boyfriend her first words were; (to me) “What’s wrong with you, beti? Don’t Indian boys like you?” and then (to him), “Nice to meet you, darling! Here, have something to eat!”
And that’s what you’ll need to know if you plan on partying with Indians: 1) Someone is bound to say something politically incorrect and mildly offensive but 2) You won’t have time to be too offended because you’ll be force-fed a never-ending supply of ladoo from the moment you arrive.
I may not know what happens at every Indian party, but if what happens with my family is anything to go by, here’s how to make the best of an Indian celebration.
Rule 1: Arrive hungry.
Make that ravenous. Starve yourself all day if you have to. You will be fed mounds of spicy, colourful, delicious food and phrases like “I’m on a diet” will be met with blank stares. If you protest, you’ll be told to “eat the meat and leave the rest” – a phrase Indian children are all too familiar with.
Rule 2: Find the booze
Although my father and his brother are well into their fifties, they still pretend to be teetotal in front of their parents (who, let me tell you, know exactly what’s going on anyway). If you can’t find the booze at the party, it’s being consumed on the DL. Find the suspicious looking uncles (try: outside near the cars) and you’ve found the booze. Which brings me to my next point...
Rule 3: Fraternize with the uncles
Need your car serviced? Investment advice? A good deal on barely used tyres? There’s an uncle at the party who can hook you up, no problem. Pour that man a Bells (seriously, Indian uncles seem to love Bells) and tell him your problem. Just make sure you’re talking to a legit uncle; if he has a name like Bushknife Bobby or Disco Krish, don’t buy into his pyramid scheme.
Rule 4: Learn the lingo
“Top night, ekse, but let’s vy before these ous start speeching over these stekkies,” may sound like gibberish to you, but it’s a perfectly acceptable way of saying that, while the night’s festivities were most enjoyable, it’s best to leave before a few spirited young men start brawling over the beautiful ladies present. If that’s too complicated just say “so much of!” as much as you can. So much of fun! So much of food! (I once caught my Afrikaner saying “so much of” to a cousin. It was glorious.)
The Indians I know are all about family; if you get through a night of gratuitous eating and over-the-top story telling you’ll be considered family for life. Just don’t mention how the Diwali fireworks upset your dogs. Seriously. Don’t.
Click here for advice on partying with Coloureds, Afrikaners
and English speakers.
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