I’m a bit of a disgrace to the media fraternity (and sorority). 7 years of working in high profile advertising agencies and a media behemoth, and yet I cannot claim first name familiarity with any ‘celebrity’. Some of the biggest pashas of print sit less than 20 feet away from my work desk. From time to time, friends in other news agencies update me on gossip about them. My customary excuse to pass up most late night schmoosing is that it conflicts with my bedtime.
As it happens, in media, all virtue is a vice. Proclaiming utter disinterest in the Who’s Who, Who’s with Who and Who did What Last Summer can be bad for business. If not for these tantalising details, what are people going to buy your newspaper for? The news? Uh-uh, it’s no good being high brow with high society.
Luckily for me, redemption came in the form of a wicked looking black envelope. Two passes to THE ultimate crash course for social ignoramuses – The Bombay Times 10th Anniversary Bash. Months of gaucherie could be purged in single night, I thought gleefully as I set off with a photographer friend.
I came away suitably enlightened. Presenting the 10 invaluable lessons gleaned from the Bombay Times 10th Anniversary Bash:
Lesson No. 1
High fashion is remarkably low cost. All you need are sequins worth Rs. 20 from Crawford Market. Tack them onto a lacy bedcover or curtain or laundry bag, and voila, you’re haute tamale!
Fashion for men: Anything tight and tacky. Allowing Calvin Klein to peer over the top of your trousers is vital. If you’re really cool, sport a thong and show it off prominently.
Lesson No. 2
Never ever question people’s fashion sense. If the high priestess of fashion, Rekha and the ultimate gay style icon, Imam, sashay in wearing tent like robes, well tent-like robes are in.
Lesson No. 3
Be careful, be very careful at the food courts. Ask detailed questions about each item even if it makes you look foolish. After all, it’s better to eat crow figuratively than to come away with a mouthful of raw oyster.
When it comes to cheese, follow a sniff and nibble routine. Do not pop a sizeable chunk like the woman next to you, especially if the cheese is ‘Gorgonzola’, unless of course you like the taste of rotting flesh. (Still gagging)
Lesson No. 4
It’s possible to have 5 margaritas, 2 tequila shots and one Vodka with tonic and still be unnaturally sober. It boils down to a simple technique: Lift long-stemmed, wide-mouthed margarita glass from counter, steer yourself across narrow corridor teeming with sozzled, flying limbs, reach your corner, spot one remaining sip of margarita, down it. After 20 minutes, repeat the process.
Lesson No. 5
When Abhishek Bachchan, up in the DJ console, suddenly points at you with a look of recognition, do not instinctively entertain hopes of being the Next Big Thing. He’s merely waving to your photographer friend. Make a mental note however to keep in touch with photographer friend more.
Lesson No. 6
Tall, dark and handsome is soooo out, so last decade. Old, bald and iconic is in.
If you are a male model, learn to deal with loneliness or hang out with other model buddies. And watch as guys blessed with a face that only a mother can love, dance with a bevy of bootylicious beauties.
Lesson No. 6
Hah, to all you atheists! There is a God and his name is Alyque Padamsee. Else explain how a 75-plus, concave-postured relic can part crowds on a packed dance floor with a statuesque teenager clutching onto him like he was a Baywatch lifeguard? Oh no, there is a God and I’m a believer.
Lesson No. 7
You can be Andre Nair, chairman and CEO of the most powerful media network in South East Asia and still cut a ludicrous figure on the dance floor, especially when you dance with actions to ‘Yeh Wada Raha’. Note to self: If you intend to stay in media it’s a good idea not to let him catch you laughing.
Lesson No. 8
You don’t need cricket records to tell you Michael Slater is a gifted player. He’s a natural when it comes to scoring.
Lesson No. 9
A family that parties together stays together. Take for instance, the Vengsarkar family. Perhaps the current day team picked up the famous ‘huddle’ from this foursome.
Lesson No. 10
There is a certain advantage in being a Who’s Not. Nobody notices that your blue handbag and black shoes don’t quite match…