Dinner Diplomacy - Soaring Trend That Never Seems To Leave India

Last updated 27 Oct 2016 . 7 min read

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‘Dear, we have been invited by the Oberois for dinner this Saturday...’

‘Oh, no! Have you already accepted and committed? Did you forget that we had to go to the Kapoors’ residence for dinner on Saturday night?’

‘Ohhhh… I just forgot. Fine, I will make an excuse and tell the Oberois that we will make it next Saturday’.

‘But, next Saturday, Mumtaz is holding a farewell dinner for Kalpana’s family... You obviously have not forgotten that they are shifting to the US? And the next day, we have called them all for an early Brunch.’

Dinner Diplomacy is at a record-breaking high in middle class India. Love, camaraderie and bonding seems to be growing in urbane India. The world may believe erroneously that we rank poorly on the Happiness rankings. However, a mere glimpse they have not of the ceaseless celebrations we are busy with, round-the-year.

Everyone wants to build wide and wider network of relationships. And, there are some women who are hard-working and through their culinary skills, they want to serve society. And their husbands help too! On Saturdays, many of the hapless husbands can be seen ferrying the cart from end to the other in grocery-malls, while taking instructions from their bosses (oops... wives!!) as to what is to be bought for the next lunch or dinner. And, there are some who want to weave the network, minus the hard work and therefore outsource the delicacies. They, thus ensure that India does not fare poorly in employment rankings. Oh God!!! We are a nation full of concern and care! And thank God! There are Aunties and even Bhaiyas, who cater on demand and churn out yummy delicacies for our social pursuits. On Thursdays and Fridays, such Aunties find their cell-phones ringing incessantly. ‘Aunty, will you please prepare fifteen plates each of malai kofta, chicken kabaab, keema mutter etc etc And also, pineapple soufflé please…’

Of course, these are our indigenous techniques of women empowerment.

The moral, if any, of the story is that Dinner Diplomacy is good for the economy, society, and for our individual bonds of love.

Some well-connected ones amongst us get an invite almost every Saturday, and if you are loved much more, you would get probably two to three invites on all Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in a month. The gyms and yoga centres must also gear up and take responsibility, however. They must play their role earnestly too. It is their job... no, their duty to keep the ladies and their hubbies in shape- particularly, their tummies tucked in.

While some gorge heartily at the lavish spreads... others just peck a bit. For them, it is important to be just present at or themselves host dinners. Some of us who are worried about lifestyle diseases, and yet want to nevertheless enjoy yummy delicacies, make it a point to be there at only 50% of the dinners. What did I say? 50%? Yes, of course-- the ones to which they are invited!!! They thus do their bit of service toward their own health, their own purse, and the health of their friends, by themselves not holding dinners at their place. On weekends, they can be spotted everywhere, but their own house. However, since they are not anti-social, they go to the dinners to which they are invited and enjoy! Oh God! How touching!!! Such selfless concern is amazing...

And, what about the children? Of course, there is all the arrangement there can be. Why do you think the genius minds have invented play stations, notes, I-pads and other paraphernalia? Yes, of course—to keep the children quiet and immobile for as much time as you want them to be, with their heads and necks bent down. Only when you apply external force and push that they will move. So, dinners can be peacefully conducted as long as children have their armour in their hands!!!

At every dinner, there is always someone who entertains by providing the latest gossip—be it about other common friends or maids or in-laws. There are those who bless us with powerful tips on where to buy property and when; and then there are those veterans who with an air of wisdom educate the relatively new arrivals on the elevated social circuit as to how different was life once-upon-a-time in Noida or Gurgaon!!! Then there are those who silently listen, and reserve their comments and complaints for their husbands or wives, on reaching home. And at the same hour approximately, the hosts can be found exchanging their own private animated comments on who spilled the most crumbs on the carpet or who had worn a very ordinary outfit or who just could not stop eating the kebabs.

Then the hosts excitedly open the gifts brought by the guests and, the comments continue.

Another set of cups? The D’Souzas must have recycled the cups which the Banerjees must have given them at the dinner hosted by D’Souzas last month... because the Banerjees give glasses or cups to everyone.’

‘Twelve cup-cakes? Nazneen has brought? Ahh! We can take these to Roma’s house tomorrow, when we go for breakfast!!’

This is how life ought to be lived, isn’t it-- spreading love; enhancing networks; making new friends; and then newer ones. Calling them over for dinners; going for dinners. Oh! What a beautiful life! There are some, however, who are crazy. They want to work hard and use their culinary skills for those whom they have not ever seen or met. For instance, they cook on the weekends for the labourers working on a construction project nearby or want to take freshly-baked cakes to an orphanage. Does it make sense? What is the point in cooking palak paneer or pulao for those who are not useful or cannot invite us in return or cannot be a part of our network?  Crazy indeed!!! They say they feel better when they do something for others who have otherwise no access to home-cooked food. But, what is the benefit? Wish they could know the joy in calling folks over for high tea or three-course dinners and showing off one’s collection of fine cutlery. There is fun; gossip; entertainment and useful networking during such Saturday dinners.

And, ah! It feels so better when the guests haven’t gulped and gobbled down everything... ‘Honey, three varieties of starters and Mutton Dum Biryani are still left…’

‘Wow, I will not have to cook now for the next three days. And then, on Thursday- the Shroffs have invited us for dinner!!!’


Navniit Gandhi
Dr. Navniit Gandhi is an academician, counsellor/trainer, and a freelance writer. She writes extensively for several online and print publications in India and Kuwait. She is presently a Visiting Faculty at IGNOU, Kuwait. Navniit has authored five Books and two E-booklets, till date.

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