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   ROUND AND ABOUT.... (December 17, 1995)

So, what are you going to do for Xmas?

You have got several options, I will enumerate them for you:

TERRACE PARTY: This is called so because it is held on a terrace, preferably a terrace without too many water tanks. All the building people (it is sometimes known as building party), plus residents of neighbouring buildings, plus friends are invited, chairs are placed along the parapet, music is from a system, loud and four years old, and food is biryani and mango pickle. You bring your own liquor.

BOTTLE PARTY: This is a variation of the terrace party, except that everybody contributes a bottle to the party. All the bottles are deposited on a table and you pour your drink from any bottle that is handy. The trick is not to show off and bring a scotch bottle, as everybody will help himself to that first and you may end up drinking IMFL. A hangover next day is expected since there is a lot of

mixing of liquor.

GARDEN PARTY: These are held in Delhi, since Bombay has no gardens, except the very rich homes of Altamount Road, and people living in these homes go to the Zodiac Grill.

FRIEND'S PARTY: A friend invites you to his house to celebrate Xmas. Find an excuse and do not go. You may be the only person at the party, besides the friend's family, and all the time you will hear them saying, how nice it is to have a party at home rather than go to one of those over crowded places.

TEENAGE PARTY: Nobody objects to your attending one of these, but nobody will bother with you either. All the girls are dressed and funky, the music is loud and funky, and nobody is drinking. Instead, they are smoking all sorts of dangerous things. (Do not look up 'funky' in the dictionary, it won't be there.)

FIVE STAR PARTY: These will cost you Rs. 8,000, probably more this year, for an eight-course turkey dinner (drinks extra) and the privilege of bursting balloons and wearing paper caps supplied by the hotel. Live band in attendance and dance till 3 a.m. Though the people who go for this are normally ready for bed by midnight. My advice is avoid this. Instead, use the Rs. 8,000 on 16 separate good dinners through the next year (drinks extra).

XMAS BALL: There is no such thing as a ball in this country, it is just another name for a party where one of the lady guests is crowned queen. All guests get prizes such as tickets to Bangkok, three days and two nights in Goa, and washing powder boxes. Go, if the wife insists.

GATEWAY PARTY: If you have nowhere else to go,

you may go here, though you may also go to Marine Drive or Juhu Beach. New Year's Eve is the actual party, but Xmas is less crowded. All you have to do is stand there at the Gateway, blow a paper whistle, and be happy.

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