It is my incessant endeavor to shine in the assembly of the learned. So I try and brush up my politics, preen my general knowledge, and generally try to acquire all relevant social skills required to fructify my plan. It may be all in a day’s work for a normal person but for someone like me who is a graduate in amnesia and post-grad in Alzheimer’s, it’s a herculean task!
I’d like to make a confession. I suspect I’m essentially insane, suffering from intermittent spells of sanity. Thankfully my family loves me unconditionally and thinks I’m kinda’ al’right (since only my left brain is paralyzed!). They have learned to live with my foibles and idiosyncrasies. So every day my life unspools brinking on functional sanity.
Getting back to social skills, I have always admired party animals who can hold their drinks AND an audience, concurrently — mesmerizing the crowd with their gleaming intellect and verbal dexterity. As for me, balancing heavy-duty-confabulation with gay-abandon-drinking is a social sudoku I’m still trying to figure out.
A single vodka shot is all it takes to coat my brain with Teflon, after which, nothing sticks. Problem is, I start with 90ml! I love my vodka.. both shaken and stirred. A ‘veg by day, vodka by night’ kind of a person…that’s me. My daughter is sure I’d win hands down if the alcoholics’ society of India were to organize a vodka’thon.
This is how it goes…My husband and I are invited to a book launch party — a euphemism for a congregation of ratiocinative brainiacs of every intellectual hue .. brain buddies ‘cerebrating’ together. Of course, ‘cerebration’ here means, throwing intellectual darts at one another while maintaining a MENSA scoreboard.
Why the heck do we get invited to such cerebral do’s in the first place? They aggravate my Alzheimers!
As we enter the hall, I run a cautious look around. The guests look like a tribe of intellectual predators flashing their ‘infoplaqued’ gnashers at one another.
I am in no mood to swim with the sharks. So I spot my savior.. the bar, and make a beeline for it, fighting all human obstructions that come between me and my destination.
I’m mentally going through the ‘polite-conversation-template’ I’ve indigenized for use, en route.
The first obstruction is a vainglorious dowager dripping mink and diamonds. She castes me a condescending glance that seems to say, “Lady… if you don’t say something smart in the next 10 seconds, I’ll drop you from my intellectual tower of Pisa and explore ‘greyer’ pastures.”
Before she can carry out the perceived threat, I move ahead.
The next obstruction is an encyclopedia with human flesh wrapped around it. He eats strategies for breakfast, accounts for lunch and his opponents’ brains at do’s such as this, for dinner.
Having girdled the planet at least 21 times over, he is engrossed in an animated monologue about his geographical escapades with his coterie of ‘suffriends’ who look like a bunch of taxidermied pigeon nodders, desperately waiting for an opportunity to step into his voluble shoes with their own narratives.
Obstruction 3 is a hi-flying blue stocking monopolizing a flock of stiff upper lips. She has a knack for effortlessly regurgitating spiritual quotes from her seemingly inexhaustible collection.
It’s almost as if she carries a hidden teleprompter! I can see the guests’ body furniture leaning towards her as I greet her.
I quickly try to retrieve one of the recycled quotes I had so assiduously filed away in my memory bank, but flunk miserably. So I just carry on.
Obstruction 4 is a political old hat whose scathingly acerbic reactions to every move made by the government end up giving his audience grade-3 soreness in the brain.
I give him a sheepish grin and move a few surreptitious inches towards the bar counter.
As I complete my circuitous journey to my destination and thirstily gulp down two jumbo vodkas, the hostess spots me standing alone.
She graciously introduces me to a couple.
Preliminaries over, she leaves us to fend for ourselves.
My poison has already started disintegrating my cognitive skills and my mental mayhem begins…”So Ms….” I begin, turning to the wife and then realize I can’t remember her name although I repeated it to myself at least ten times as we were introduced.
I’m hoping her husband will call out for her so that I can get a cue. No such luck.
I try again..”Hellooz.. I’m Puja.. and that’s Pujari” I say, pointing to my husband who is busy exchanging notes with his school stable-mates, blissfully unaware of my mental conundrum and alcopop induced confidence.
“Ya’know.. Puja.. the 4 letter word…? Don’t you dairre confuse it with Pooja.. hch !”
“Well, Ms. PUJA…what do you do?” the husband politely asks. “Good question..”(What was that line I had memorized to use while introducing my profession..?)
Before I can remember it, I find myself using the one I’ve kept strictly for my bumchums. “I’m into advertising.. ya’know.. advertising.. the most fun you can have with your PANTS on” (hey.. that’s not at all what I wanted to say!)
The asker turns a visible crimson, as the ‘askee’ wonders who put that line, or rather.. foot in her mouth!
Sure enough, the couple collects their body bags and wits vanishing into thin air.
Darn, this vodka! It erodes my intellectual finesse and throws me into cerebral jeopardy. One innocuous shot is enough to impair my social faculties and pack off my IPU (Information Processing Unit) into the ICU.
Amidst this cerebral carnage, I vow never to touch the hooch again.
And then another party happens… and another resolution goes down the drain as I merrily shake a leg to the latest Hindi item number played by the DJ.
What is a party without some hardcore drinking.. social skills can go hang themselves!