A recent trend in hosting parites is not to serve alcohol. Instead, some of the country’s most celebrated musicians present performances and the invites sit in long fidgeting rows, listen to them and applaud them. I have nothing against such invitations, but why call them invitations to parties, they should be called invitatins to concents.
The trend probably comes to Bombay from Delhi, where invariably among invitees are a few ministers and sometimes even the prime minister. In order not to embarrass their sensibilities drinks are not served.
One such party that I have attended was the one hosted by Mr. Ayun Sayed, editor of The Current, to Mr. V.P. Singh, then prime minister. It was helf at the US (United Services) Club at Colaba and hundreds of guests had been invited, all of shom had to go through a double security check. First of the military, since the club is in the cantonment area (soon to be taken over by Mr. Pawar and handed over to the Rahejas), and then by the police, since the prime minister was to attend.
The prime minister sat on a sofa in the front, with the host and the local VIPs. We all sat in rows upon rows of chairs at the back. Pandit Bhimsen Joshi sat on the stage and rendered several songs, I could see Mr. V.P. Singh’s fur cap nodding in tune to the music. My friend, the artist Vithal, stood prominently on one side and did an instant painting of the singer. The hostess presented the painting to the prime minister.
Though the catering was by Taj (or, possibly, because the catering was by Taj), the food seemed a little indefferent. But then, to be fair, any food would seem to be indifferent id consumed at that hour without a couple of pegs of scotch inside you.
Many years ago, I was invited to a party by my good friend, Frank Simoes. When I reached his house, I found a pile of shoes and chappals at the entrance to the flat. Inside, the guests were sitting on the floor all round the room and in the centre the lovely Protima Bedid was dancing her Odissi.
That was another party that did not turn out to be a party. And Mr. Simoes had no excuse, since he had not invited any ministers.