The prerequisites include smartness and sang-froid

Recently, a friend of mine suggested we should go to a wedding reception and eat there to our heart’s content! Flabbergasted, I said: “We were not invited. What if someone caught and embarrassed us?” But he laughed at my apprehension and went alone.

After returning, he told me in detail of the delicacies at the reception. He had gorged on every dish available and brought home a very delicious Banarasi meetha paan from the reception to make me all the more jealous. I sulked in silence for having missed a mouth-watering opportunity.

He’s a clever gatecrasher and can open an institute where he can teach the nuances of effective gatecrashing without detection. There’re people like him all over the world, who sneak into parties and receptions uninvited. Their only objective is to eat.

They’re largely harmless creatures and I don’t consider their acts to be crimes; at times I too have wanted to join their ilk. But it’s certainly mortifying for one who’s not adept at the art of deception. An uninvited couple managed to sneak into the White House dinner party for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife during their visit to the U.S. in 2009. They couldn’t be apprehended. This is the thrill of gatecrashing. It’s much like kleptomania. It gives you an uncanny kick, which cannot be described in words. But it’s relatively better than kleptomania.

There’re habitual gatecrashers, who’ll be seen at marriage parties and social gatherings schmoozing with the high and the mighty. Gatecrashers are mostly innocuous people, who love to eat and drink without causing any harm to anyone. Mind you, gatecrashing is an art. And it ain’t everyone’s cup of tea.

The prerequisites for an undetected gatecrasher are smartness, sang-froid and a charming disposition. He or she must look completely relaxed and tension-free. If a gatecrasher has done his/her homework well and can remember some prominent names present at that party, chances are that he/she will never be caught.

In Kashmir, there’re seasoned gatecrashers, who’re referred to as ‘daddus’. They make a list of all the marriages in the village and go there uninvited. If two marriages fall on the same day, they prefer to go where the food is expected to be more sumptuous and liquor flows.

Many a time, I too have wanted to visit a party uninvited, just to enjoy the lovely food. But I couldn’t gather the courage. A great deal of fun is lost in the world for the want of a little courage. People who gatecrash are really courageous people and I’m sure the ubiquitous types are known gatecrashers in a relatively small place.

People know them but hardly anyone drives such guys out of a reception. They’re not stealing anything or making passes at damsels. These guys aren’t really a nuisance. They’re just eating food and drinking like a fish. There’s a Kashmiri proverb that the blessings of a person you’ve fed are much more effective than those of a sage.

Frank Sinatra used to gatecrash during his younger days, when he wasn’t so popular and famously said he missed out on such experiences after becoming a legend.

Even at a hush-hush engagement between a Bollywood actor of yesteryear and a legendary cricketer from the Caribbean, there was a gatecrasher, Bunny Ruben. Ruben, the biographer of Raj Kapoor, vividly described the gatecrashing episode in his autobiography.

Gatecrashing is indeed joy unalloyed and fun unadulterated. Adventurous souls will continue to gatecrash as nothing is more soul-satisfying than stealthily entering a party and coming back after eating, drinking, belching and.....

sumitmaclean@hotmail.com

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