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   I like going to German parties... (September 24, 1986)

I like going to German parties, all Germans, except the wife, myself and the waiter. And, naturally, everybody talks in German, except occasionally when somebody turns around and tells you: “It is very warm, no!”

Still, the Germans serve good food and liquor and generally make good hosts. And the German wines are among the best in the world. And they serve the best.

The French wines are superior. But the French, unlike the Germans, do not serve their best brands to Indians, especially at large gatherings, rightly considering such good wines to be a waste on uncultured palates. So they serve you two ordinary wines, one red and one white. Though whatever they serve is better than the grape essence that is Golconda.

Otherwise, the French are pleasant hosts. They invited half the members, past and present, of the Alliance Francaise and Mr. Soli Godrej probably to practise their French on him.

The British rarely give parties, except on their queen’s birthday or their prince’s wedding or something. Then they play God Save The Queen and the Indian national anthem, and the deputy high commissioner raises toasts to the queen of England and the President of India. It is always interesting watching the Indian guests imitating their hosts, holding the glass in front of them and saying “The Queen.”

The Russinas give noisy parties with a lot of vodka and scotch and fellow travellers. And they serve lots of meat, smoked ham, real caviare from the Black Sea. The more vodka you consume, the more you think that all the Russians present are KGBs.

However, your never think that all the Americans at their parties are CIAs. Probably because, except on rare occasions, they serve you only Thums Up and samoosas, not even Coca-Cola. But the Americans are very friendly and least foreign.

Nearer home, the Arabs give partise only on their national days. Till you actually go to the function, you do not know whether drinks will be served or not. All Arabs, of course, are friends of India, though you have to continuously keep telling yourself that. and though they may give parties only once a year, they invite the whole town and make a gala occasion of it.

I have never been invited to a Pakistani party, so I do not know how it is. Probably like an Indian party, with a lot of children thrown in. This is the best part of Indians and Pakistanis, they take their children along and make it a family occasion.

I have been to several Israeli parties. Their parties and their consulgenerals are very informal, the present cousul-general not excepted.

But, coming back to it, I like German parties best-all Germans, except the wife, myself and the waiters, unless you consider Inger and Gunter Kreuger as Indians.

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