Three things are certain in life: death, taxes and endless invites to dawats in a desi family. Personally, I hate these gatherings of people whom I want nothing to do with. Sitting there and pretending to listen to all sorts of bull c**p being thrown at the people who aren’t there is basically the highlight and the sole purpose of these conventions.
These gatherings often start with waisay kehna tou nahi chahye lekin… and finish with Oh choro ji, humein kia lena dena kisi sey prompting the saner young ones to wonder, THEN WHY IN GOD’S NAME ARE YOU DISCUSSING IT ALL IN THE FIRST PLACE??
But no amount of frustration at hearing other people being mercilessly slandered comes close to the horror that unleashes when – God forbid – these uncles and aunties do not have enough gossip to keep their tongues wagging and turn their guns towards younger and weaker targets within the gathering!
So to save you from falling victim to these meethay meethay nuclear attacks from your desi family, here are some tips I’ve learned over the course of time.
1. Don’t Go
No seriously, don’t go to any of these stupid gatherings in the first place. Come up with any excuse that springs to your mind and do whatever you can to avoid meeting the copperheads at any cost. Just politely apologize saying you have Ebola. I’ve had countless prostate exams scheduled at the exact date and time of these gatherings and trust me, they’re far less uncomfortable.
But if you give in to the internal pressures of your family then just make it a quick in-n-out. Say that you have some emergency meeting or you are extremely busy so you’re just here to say Salam to everyone and leave as soon as they’ve said, “Wallaikum Assalam.” This way not only will you be able to avoid the entirety of the painful experience but will also have an upper hand for making time despite your “busy schedule.”
One downside of this approach is that you’d be the one being discussed at these dawats but if you’re using this strategy in the first place, then you don’t really give a rat’s behind what any of them thinks, do you?
2. Keep your head down and your guard up
So now if you’ve failed to convince your family of your apparent busy schedule and you show up at the pit of all these serpents, filled with toxic and venomous gossip, try your best to minimize any form of interaction.
Do not make eye contact with any of them. As soon as they sense a wee bit of interest, they’ll swamp you with questions about your life and will advise you on what you should be doing instead.
Imagine a shareef seedhi saadhi girl and mimic her to the best of your abilities. It means keeping your gaze as low as their conversational standards and replying with jee theek to everything. Lay low and you might just survive.
3. Smile and nod
If you succeed in avoiding the desi family edition of Gossip Girl, there is still one place where you’d have to interact with these people: the dinner table.
The dreadful table has the power to conjure all the negativity going on around the house and concentrating it in one place. Add loud chewing noises to the ongoing gossip and sasta humor and there you have it, the perfect recipe to cringe your way to death.
One way to minimize the threat is to wear a beanie or a cap and put in some earbuds under them.
If you’re a girl, wear a scarf and just nod away to all the questions. That way you’ll stay safe from the toxic conversations and will earn some bonus Islamic points in the process. Win-Win!
4. Do some chores
After the dinner, help out in clearing the table and volunteer to do the dishes in the kitchen. A small note for the male readers: no, your masculinity will not be affected by moving your butt once in a while. You’ll still get khala ki Beti, don’t worry.
This technique will buy you some alone time, away from all the ending notes of “Acha choro, humein kia…” and again, bonus points for being sughar.
Even with these practices, I’ll still advice you to not go to any of these gatherings and avoid them at all costs but if you do have to go then may God bless you with the strength and power to deal with the evil forces within your extended family!