The room was full of dull strangers. My parents were in a far-flung corner, jabbering ceaselessly about Benghazi, and biryani and what not. The boredom was overwhelming. I kept whipping out my phone, hoping for some respite; all my groups on WhatsApp were inactive, all the posts on Facebook, ruefully seen and dismissed. I scrolled through my contacts list, and a solitary number caught my attention. It was labelled – “Dominoes Pizza”.
Why not, I thought?
The call connected, and I spoke softly, “A large margherita, cheese-burst crust.” And then, I gave the hostess’ address.
Forty minutes later, my parents thought it was time to leave. As we bade goodbye, we met the pizza delivery boy at the door. I smiled. On our way home, I switched my phone off, and laughed out loud.
Of course, I was caught later on, as our hostess did not take kindly to uncalled-for food being delivered to her doorstep. She cross checked the number, verified it, and rang up my parents.
Moral : Parties can be a pain. Make sure you use tried and tested methods of passing time when you’re at one – such as the ones on this list. They’re safer, effective, and give you good enough kicks. I learnt these methods rather painfully, but you get them free and easy.
Ready? Here goes…
10. Break into an impromptu gig
My uncle was an expert at this. He would catch hold of a low and easy chair, arrange around himself vessels, spare bowls and plates — and then launch into a solo drumming performance. At first people wouldn’t notice, but when they gradually did, they would gather around and applaud. Of course, this depends greatly on the type of attendees at the party. If circumstances favour, you can also use spoken word, or light rap.
9. Infect by humming
An alternative method, related to the aforementioned one, is one where you begin by humming the tune of a popular song, or even singing a line or two of it. Do this while you’re in line for the food. If you’ve done it right, and if a good enough number of people have heard it the first time, about fifteen or twenty minutes later, you should hear the song being hummed elsewhere in the room. If you have the pluck to begin, people will catch on in the contagiousness of the melody.
8. Hone your photography skills
Your smart phone has a vital feature, “an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or both.” If you’ve not guessed yet, it’s your camera. Parties serve as ideal occasions to help you practise people photography, as also the art of clicking food, or objects like cutlery. If in the event that you may wish to pursue Fine Arts, or Design, where such skills are genuinely appreciated as part of the curriculum, these occasions may prove invaluable. Otherwise too, you’re developing a great hobby, aren’t you? So get that phone out, but try as far as possible to be subtle. In fact, asking people for their permission may be a better way of carrying this out.
7. Clearing the junk on your phone
The entire week was gruelling and you haven’t had a second to spare. Now you’re stuck at a dreary gathering where you can hardly fathom of something constructive to do. Your phone has an added SD card, but you’re still struggling to find space for that latest album released on the net. Why not use this time to delete all those extra files, photos of notes, and cheesy audio messages your friends send to each other? It even gives the chance to finally revisit all those forgotten chats and finally clear your phone of the unwanted trash that hogs its memory. If you wish to, you can share those memes one last time before you delete them. Nostalgic, huh?
6. Test your hand-eye coordination (with your watch)
Now “hand-eye coordination” may sound rather imposing a phrase, but the implication here is rather trivial, albeit we assure you it will help pass away the time at the boring party. For this you shall need a digital watch. Wear it well. Then, go onto stopwatch mood, and press ‘start’. Following this, press ‘stop’ such that the time recording stops at a millisecond reading of ’00’. This is not as easy as it sounds; milliseconds pass very quickly. Do this repeatedly and check the number of times you’re able to achieve this. Don’t shy from crying out happily when you do.
5. Unleash the adventurer in you
If your party is held in a hall, which is part of a larger building, you can easily excuse yourself to the washroom. And then, arrives your chance to explore. O. Henry famously said, “The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate.” So go ahead and defy the ramrod of convention. Walk around and tour the place, who knows what might greet you round the corner? Having once done this myself, I found a larger hall, hosting a dance party with good music and better appetizers. Needless to say, I gatecrashed it.
4. Become a food critic
The life of a party does not necessarily have to be the people, it can also be the food. While, it is natural that you will attack the victuals the minute you realize the party is boring, I recommend you slow down and relax. Hopefully, the buffet won’t sprint away before you have your share; why not enjoy it to the fullest? Now, the point here is not the old “appreciate the food” sermon, but rather to have to identify every ingredient in each of the dishes, by eating really, really slowly. A helping of rice that you would normally wolf down in five minutes, can take fifteen minutes, provided you’ve mentally noted down the stuff that went into the making of it ( — cardamom, onion, chillies, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, sweat, hair, etc.)
While this may seem the most natural option, it isn’t very easy when you’ve been dragged to the party, by your family or friends (which is the case, most of the time). Provided below is no hackneyed motivation telling you to determinedly exit the party or make some excuse; there are better ways to convey your want to leave to your accomplice at the event. One method is to repeatedly miss call the person. This works mostly with moms and dads and grandparents, who simply can’t switch off their phones. The second method is to feign illness — we all are masters at this, having tried this numerous times at school. The third one is to yawn, loudly and obnoxiously, until someone notices. Studies show that even thinking of yawning can make you yawn.
2. Creativity with tissues
A party isn’t a party without tissues provided beside the sumptuous food. It’s a compulsory little feature we often overlook. Now that you know they exist, take a good look at them — what can do with them to save the life of the party? You could ask for a pen. Any kind will do. Uncap the pen and apply it to the tissue. Doodle, and draw; the face of the old man guzzling fruit juice seems interesting? Caricature it and hand the tissue to him. I promise he won’t hand it back to you.
Or even better, why don’t you write a (not so) honest feedback for the party and pin it to the board nearby or paste it to the door of the hall? I tried this once, and starting with the children, people began imitating me and writing their feedback and suggestions on tissues and pasting it there with clear tape. It was rather gratifying, both for the host and for me.
1. Converse without conversing
As if striking up a conversation with a stranger is not tough enough, the vapid atmosphere of the gathering seems to make you cry. But as I began, one does need to have a certain degree of gutsiness to free oneself from the soporific boredom of the party. Use these lines given below to break the ice with a fellow party-goer.
Now these aren’t merely conversation starters, but a little sample of quips that you can use as miniature mic drops; you don’t even have to continue the conversation. You can merely put a smile on the face of the person and proceed to another.
“Is it legal for a man to marry his widow’s sister?”
“Why do we need a driver’s licence to buy liquor?”
“Did Tim Cook win Season One or Three, of Masterchef Australia?”
There. Now you’re ready to tackle any party. So what are waiting for? Accept that invitation and head straight there.