HAPPY HOURS

HOW TO PLAN THE PER­FECT HOUSE PARTY

India Today - - SIMPLY CHENNAI - BY SARANYA CHAKRA­PANI

From warm chris­ten­ing cer­e­monies to grand wed­dings, from quirky house warm­ings to cosy baby show­ers, we are al­ways look­ing to make our cel­e­bra­tions spe­cial. What­ever be the oc­ca­sion, throw­ing a house party is the ideal way to unwind with your favourite peo­ple. “You can take lib­er­ties with the space by per­son­alis- ing it to your mood. Plus there are no nag­ging thoughts of a cur­few,” says Arthi Aniruda, model, and daugh­terin-law of crick­eter Kr­ish Srikkanth.

CEN­TRE STAGE—THE BEST THEMES

Arthi and hus­band Aniruda host some of the finest par­ties in town and her last birth­day party tops the list. “My hus­band had planned a party with a movie theme and it was amaz­ing how it turned out. He dressed up as Cap­tain Had­dock and we had peo­ple show up as Cat Woman, Tintin and even the Joker ‘nurse’! It’s most fun when it’s un­pre­dictable,” she says.

Par­ties are the best places to break out of your shell. Don’t wait for those tequila shots to do the work; let your imag­i­na­tion loose and jot down the things that will make your bash the wack­i­est from the word go. Lak­shmi Kr­ish­naswamy, owner of the Lux 214 fash­ion store, de­cided to make her WE MAY LOOK WEST WARD FOR MANY THINGS, BUTWE DON’T NEED ANY­BODY TELLING US HOW TO PARTY. AND WHAT BET­TER PLACE TO SHOW­CASE OUR IN­HER­ENT HIGH SPIR­ITS THAN OUR HOMES? AS 2013 WRAPS UP, SIM­PLY CHEN­NAI TELLS YOU HOWTO PLAN THE PER­FECT HOUSE PARTY.

WHEN YOU ARE PLAN­NING A CON­CEPT PARTY, GO AHEAD AND BE BOLD. ONE WAY TO MAKE YOUR PARTY A SURE EN­TER­TAINER IS TO SYNC THE DÉ­COR AND DIN­NER­WARE TO A SIN­GU­LAR THEME.

daugh­ter’s 16th birth­day bash an oc­ca­sion for her­self and her friends to re­visit their teenage years. “We de­cided to dress up as 16-year-olds. Some of my friends, who had gone to the same school as my daugh­ter’s, even showed up wear­ing their old uni­forms,” re­calls Kr­ish­naswamy.

When you are plan­ning a con­cept party, go ahead and be bold, as there are plenty of unique op­tions to ex­plore to your lik­ing. One way to make your party a sure en­ter­tainer is to sync as­pects like dé­cor and din­ner­ware to a sin­gu­lar theme. The best way to do this is to pick up plenty of dis­pos­ables, and mix and match them to your pref­er­ence. This means ex­tra ef­fort, but it will make your party very per­sonal. “Chen­nai is now home to a num­ber of ex­pats and they love theme par­ties. In or­der to keep the cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence au­then­tic, most of our mer­chan­dise is sourced from abroad. Be it Hal­loween or the Dis­ney princess theme, we have the right ac­ces­sories,” says Mignonne of Party Hunterz. “Chen­nai­ites are drawn to larger-than-life themes of casi­nos and Bol­ly­wood,” she adds.

Stay­ing true to a theme is im­por­tant when you are cel­e­brat­ing a fes­ti­val. Lak­shmi Kr­ish­naswamy, who shares her birth­day with her hus­band and her daugh­ter in the month of Novem­ber, throws three par­ties ev­ery year—two for the birth­days and one for Di­wali. For Di­wali cel­e­bra­tions, she hand­picks the best lights in town to aes­thet­i­cally il­lu­mi­nate her place and in­sists on a tra­di­tional dress code— veshtis, an­gavasthrams, kur

tas and beau­ti­ful, or­nate saris. De­signer Sid­ney Sladen’s an­nual Christ­mas party is al­ways the talk of the town. Priya Manikan­dan, cos­tume de­signer, is one of the many who look for­ward to it. “Sid­ney Sladen’s Christ­mas party sees at least 75 to 100 peo­ple ev­ery year. He decks up the whole house him­self and has a six-foot tall, beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated tree. The food is bril­liant, es­pe­cially his mashed pota­toes. It is pop­u­lar among all his friends,” she says.

Sid­ney owes his suc­cess to his metic­u­lous party plan­ning. “I start pre­par­ing for the party at least ten days in ad­vance—from dec­o­ra­tions to the DJ and also de­cid­ing the menu. I love cook­ing, so I make at least 12 out of 15 dishes for the party my­self. I am also very par­tic­u­lar that I never ever run out of liquor,” he says.

A fa­mil­iar crowd is a happy crowd. While par­ties are in­her­ently great places to break the ice, a good host al­ways goes that ex­tra mile in mak­ing his/her guests feel at home. One way to do this is to plan some fun, in­ter­ac­tive games that get bet­ter with the flow­ing fuel and mu­sic. “I make sure I in­vite peo­ple who know and get along well with each other. No one should feel left out. And al­co­hol must last at least 12 hours,” says Kr­ish­naswamy.

But it is also healthy to break away from plan­ning and just have a good time, feels Prab­hu­lak­sh­man ‘Buddy’, an ed­u­ca­tion­ist and a reg­u­lar host, who prefers to keep his evenings flex­i­ble and spon­ta­neous. “I don’t do too much plan­ning; I just en­sure that the fun­da­men­tals like am­bi­ence, food and al­co­hol are right. For me, it is all about ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing my­self, hav­ing a good time,” he says.

CON­TACT Con­fetti Event Plan­ners, Shop 7, Mookam­bika Com­plex, Lady De­sika Road, My­la­pore TEL 9884188379

MIX‘ N’ MATCH—CRE­ATIVE PROPS

Per­son­al­is­ing your soirée has never been sim­pler with spe­cialised party stores and ser­vices crop­ping up in the city. Name the con­cept and you’ll find it in the form of funky pa­per art, pom­poms, bal­loon bou­quets, masks and even cutlery. Gone are the days when par­ties were just about mu­sic and al­co­hol. To­day, sea­soned hosts want to be in­no­va­tive in mak­ing their par­ties the talk of the town. “A new fad is the con­cept of five-minute photographs. Guests can get their pic­tures taken as soon as they en­ter the party and get a copy in five min­utes. With Face­book, and What­sapp be­ing the main por­tals of spread­ing any news, this works won­der­fully,” says Kr­ish­naswamy.

Even party in­vi­ta­tions are get­ting quirkier. From di­a­per-shaped GONE ARE THE DAYS WHEN PAR­TIES WERE JUST ABOUT MU­SIC & AL­CO­HOL. TO­DAY, SEA­SONED HOSTS WANT TO BE IN­NO­VA­TIVE IN MAK­ING THEIR PAR­TIES THE TALK OF THE TOWN. cup­cakes sent for baby show­ers to old photo col­lages for 60th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions, there is no lim­it­ing the ideas. But more im­por­tant are party sup­plies and props. From fan­tasy lands, to mon­sters from the grave­yard shift, there is a prop for ev­ery in­cred­i­ble story. But the eas­i­est mood you can cre­ate is the flirty retro with colour­ful Afro wigs, over­sized frames, straw mus­taches, bling caps and Elvis suits. Hal­loween is another oc­ca­sion to pick up the cra­zi­est out­fits at the cos­tume rentals in Vada­palani and ac­ces­sorise them with spi­der webs, witch hats, fake nails, crème make-up, face masks and pump­kins.

TIP “Bal­loon bou­quets are the lat­est rage. We have a range of Quala­tex bal­loons in dif­fer­ent shapes and sizes. He­lium bal­loons make for colour­ful bou­quets.” – Mignonne, Party Hunterz

CON­TACT Party Hunterz, Is­pa­hani Cen­tre, Nungam­bakkam High Road, Nungam­bakkam TEL 66759609

MEAL TICKET—BEST PARTY FOOD

Feisty Asia, sunny Mex­ico or ro­man­tic Italy—what­ever is on your cur­rent wish list, make your party an ex­cuse to bring it on the plate. Pick a coun­try

that in­spires you and you can recre­ate its flavours in the form of mouth­wa­ter­ing short-eats and ap­pe­tis­ers. Char­lie Singh, ex-DJ and owner of Spoon­bill, a restau­rant that serves world street food, caters in­ter­na­tional clas­sics for house par­ties. “There is a lot of cre­ativ­ity and aware­ness among peo­ple to­day and ex­pand­ing their de­mand is their ex­po­sure to world cul­tures and a web full of ideas. We have ob­served a high de­mand for Ger­man and Ara­bic cuisines—curry wursts, döner ke­babs and falafels,” he says.

Party knick-knacks are best when they are light, di­verse and in­no­va­tive. Mediter­ranean hot and cold mezzes are a great start to an evening and Stid Drageide, Ex­ec­u­tive Chef, Park Hy­att, rec­om­mends lit­tle but de­li­cious por­tions of tabouleh, baba ganoush, stuffed phyllo, zu­chini frit­ters, lab­neh, hum­mus and pita. Grilled foods are ex­cel­lent for lazy bar­beque evenings. Choose from a wide va­ri­ety, in­clud­ing grilled sa­tays with pota­toes, corn, tofu, minced seafood, prawns and chicken, grilled sal­ads, ro­maine let­tuce, Cap­rese and fruit salad.

“An in­ter­est­ing vari­a­tion is the colour-themed cock­tail party—match the cock­tail colours with tindli (baby cu­cum­ber) and al­monds for a green and white com­bi­na­tion; tuna with pineap­ple for a yel­low and red com­bi­na­tion and two coloured mac­a­roons for a black and white com­bi­na­tion. It’s re­ally about how cre­ative you can get,” says chef Stid. It is im­por­tant to prep dishes that would go well with the mild sips of wine and whiskies at the be­gin­ning of a party.

TIP “Try to make your own starter. Put canopies on crack­ers or white bread,

PARTY KNICK-KNACKS SHOUD BE LIGHT, DI­VERSE AND IN­NO­VA­TIVE. MEDITER­RANEAN HOT AND COLD MEZZES ARE A GREAT WAY TO START AN EVENING.

make it colour­ful by top­ping it up with an egg slice, may­on­naise and ketchup. Sea­soned pineap­ple cubes on a tooth­pick are also favourites.” – Char­lie Singh, owner, Spoon­bill

CON­TACT Spoon­bill, 239, TTK Road, Parthasarathy­pu­ram, Tey­nam­pet TEL 42064442

CON­TACT The Fly­ing Ele­phant, Park Hy­att, 39 Velachery Road TEL 71771234

GOOD TIMES PLAYLIST—BEST MU­SIC

Mu­sic is the life of a party. Bring in an in­ter­est­ing twist to the karaoke and or­gan­ise your own pri­vate jam­ming ses­sions. They are splen­did to liven up a get-to­gether and in­volve your guests on a plat­form, giv­ing them a chance to bond. Ask the guitarists in your group to pol­ish their notes and take turns to sing as they strum to your all-time favourite num­bers. You can also make the party live­lier by choos­ing dif­fer­ent mu­sic gen­res for each hour, sav­ing the cra­zi­est for the last.

DJ Vi­jay Chawla, who is a favourite in the house party cir­cuit, has his style

well-planned out. “House par­ties are laid-back and can­did. I usu­ally start with retro and RnB that’s easy on the ears and go on to play some foot-thump­ing dance num­bers,” he says. Vi­jay says house par­ties are the best places to lis­ten to and en­joy newer forms of mu­sic. He in­sists his clients al­low the DJ to try out newer tunes at least for a part of the evening. “In a night­club, peo­ple are forced to lis­ten to what is be­ing played. Of course, play­ing the chart hits al­ways makes guests happy. But as a DJ, it is also my job to in­tro­duce my clients to newer styles of mu­sic,” he says.

TIP “Keep your favourite house and pro­gres­sive house num­bers for the

THE NEXT TIME YOU FEEL LIKE PAR­TY­ING, LEAVE BE­HIND EX­CESS PLAN­NING, SLIP INTO COMFY PY­JA­MAS AND JUMBO T-SHIRTS, AND BRING OUT YOUR OLD BOARD GAMES.

last. This genre sets the mood late into the party, when peo­ple have danced, eaten and like to sit back and have a good time.”—DJ Vi­jay Chawla CON­TACT djvi­jay­chawla@gmail.com

ONE FOR THE SPORT—BEST GAMES

Tired of stand­ing by the bar, ap­ply­ing that make-up and get­ting wasted, night af­ter night? The next time you feel like par­ty­ing, break away from all the ex­cess plan­ning, slip into comfy py­ja­mas and jumbo t-shirts, bring out your old game boxes and keep your shot glasses ready for a night­long of crazi­ness. Game nights are in­cred­i­bly fun, cre­ative and high on en­ergy.

Drink­ing games like Ques­tions (where you start a di­a­logue with a ques­tion and main­tain it with more ques­tions, and the ones ask­ing the most rhetoric ques­tions or break­ing the flow will have to have a drink) and Beer Pong (like Ping Pong—only aimed at hit­ting the ball into your op­po­nent’s beer mug), are per­fect to beat work­week blues. For some­thing more in­door and laid-back, throw in some board games like Car­cas­sonne (where the game board is a me­dieval land­scape built by the play­ers as the game pro­gresses) and Kill Doc­tor Lucky (where the game board is a floor plan of Doc­tor Lucky's man­sion, and is ac­com­pa­nied by a deck of cards rep­re­sent­ing the ob­jects and op­por­tu­ni­ties that can be found there to kill him), and you will stay up all night in the spirit of the sport.

Game nights are also the per­fect places to re­visit your old school time games. “Only, with all that booze, they be­come more mind-blow­ing,” says 27-year-old Shilpa Krishnan, con­tent man­ager at a read­ing pro­gramme. Shilpa’s game par­ties are known for their big head counts, cre­ative twists, in­for­ma­tive trivia and ice-break­ing. She also uses tech­nol­ogy to aid her with the best op­tions. “We fre­quently have cha­rade nights; the Heads-up Cha­rade is a pop­u­lar party app on An­droid and gives us some amaz­ing va­ri­eties. Ev­ery time the player gets the name in the cha­rade right, he gets to drink down his vic­tory,” she says.

TIP “If you want to notch up the fun, bring out your for­got­ten school time games like Tan­gled, Dog and The Bone and Doc­tor Doc­tor from the grave and on to your ter­race. Once you’ve had a few drinks, you’ll loosen up and have a blast.”—Shilpa Krishnan, con­tent man­ager and a house party host.

CON­TACT Ham­leys, Ex­press Av­enue Mall, Plot No.213, Whites Road, Roy­apet­tah TEL 28464656

PARTY HUNTERZ

A.R. SU­MANTH KU­MAR; Party Props by

Photographs by

PARK HY­ATT

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