1. The middle-aged merry-makers. Abandon all hopes of spotting eye candy. You’d think that a happening party will be thronged by hot youngsters, but instead you’ll be seeing mostly pot-bellied uncles and over-botoxed cougars.
2. The inaccessible washrooms. Be warned: you will never find an unoccupied washroom once the party gets going. Bang on the locked toilet doors all you want, but don’t expect the people inside to pay heed to pleas of impending bladder damage.
3. The lack of proper refreshments. A note to the host: Since when did chips fried in cow fat and Rs20 nimko sold at shoddy CNG pumps begin counting as “snacks”? Considering you’re selling tickets for Rs10,000 per couple, can’t we at least expect Planter’s peanuts?
4. The cheap Hindi music. Just when the Chemical Brothers get you into the mood to dance, the DJ switches to Munni Badnaam and suddenly aunties with gyrating hips occupy the dance floor. Why must all merry-making in Pakistan ultimately resemble big desi weddings?
5. The same phony conversations.
Stranger: So you work at a bank. Do you know so-and-so there?
You: Yes, he’s my colleague.
Stranger: Oh you do. What a small world it is!
Well stranger, curb your phony enthusiasm. The world is a small place for Pakistan’s privileged cliques. Try going outside and finding a mutual connection with a person on the street.
6. The underage teens — Amongst the hordes of aunties and uncles, you will always spot a few overexcited teenagers — skinny boys with oodles of hair gel and girls in skin-tight clothes. Some genuine advice for them: Dear kids, it’s way past your bed time, so go home and come back in 10 years.
7. The confusing social dynamics — Why do some couples, who arrive together and spend most of their time engaging in public displays of affection, suddenly break up and leave the party with other people? It’s really confusing and makes you wonder what you missed out on for hours.
8. The all-too desi pick-up lines — My father’s an MNA, Chaudhry XYZ … do you want to dance with me?
Oh, so you’re a PTI supporter? So am I! Let’s go out and discuss this further over coffee.
9. The smoke. I don’t know what’s worse: inhaling diesel fumes on my way back home from work or sitting in a room full of cigarette smoke for hours. Shindigs in Pakistan should come with a serious health warning.
10. The dance floor discussions on politics. If drawing room discussions on politics weren’t vacuous enough, dance floor musings on the country’s “sad state of affairs” take empty talk to another level. Do people even realise how lame they sound when they lament the civil-military imbalance in between dance routines?
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, February 5th, 2012.