What really goes on at these Desi parties? Is it a bunch of Desi kids sharing their culture and comparing their lives about living in the Diaspora? Or is it just a bunch of wild college students using the name Desi Party so that theyre strict parents who are living in the genre of the 1970s will let them party til 2 AM in the morning?
Mom: “Rahul beta what are you doing tonight”
Rahul: “Going to an Indian party mom….you know bhangra…balle balle”
Mom: “So will they serve dinner also”
Rahul: “Ummmm…not really”
Dad: “Actually, I dont know how much food they’ll be tonight, but I’m sure
be plenty to drink”
What really goes on at these Desi parties? Is it a bunch of Desi kids sharing
their culture and comparing their lives about living in the Diaspora? Or is
it just a bunch of wild college students using the name Desi Party so that
theyre strict parents who are living in the genre of the 1970s will let them
party til 2 AM in the morning?
So the “Typical Indian Party” begins officially at 9 PM, but no desi would
ever show up to a party that early because noone ever wants to be the first
ones to show up at a party. While the party promoters are ready to shoot
themselves for investing $ 2000 in a venue and DJs for a party they’re not
sure anyone is ready to show up to, the general population is frantically
getting ready for the party by borrowing each others Cologne and Make-Up and
making that last minute runs to In & Out, the liquor store and figuring out
the ride situation. By 10 PM, the early birds have arrived at the party.
The true music lovers and dancers like to come early to avoid the long lines
and possibly get a discount for coming early. The party promoters are slowly
beginning to breathe as they now realize that the 15 previous parties they
attended to pass out promotional flyers at and the excess email reminders
have begun to pay off. Inside, people have begun to slowly trickle in.
The music at the beginning of a party is usually hip hop, probably the most
popular music to the South Asian American today. Somehow, there is this
belief among us that if we hang out with a bunch of Indians and listen to hip
hop music, we are being a bit more “desi.”
The peak of a party is truly at 11:30 PM, when there are over 250 people
inside getting their groove on inside while the small minority of Bhangra
fanatics are complaining about the lack of dhol in any song being played by
constantly bothering the DJs. However, the biggest excitement is not
occurring inside, it is outside in “the line”. Having helped promote and
attended a plethora of parties, in my experience, the “line” is no doubt the
epitome of entertainment in the desi scene. The usual line at happening desi
party is created by the bottleneck of having to check each individual at the
door for security purposes and then collecting the usual $12 dollar entrance
“The line” stretches for about a block’s length with the conventional
partygoer looking for his/her friends so that he/she may cut to the front,
while at the same time socializing with the random groups in front of and
behind them. Meanwhile, a non South Asian security team of about 4 is trying
to control an excess of 300 people outside.
They truly don’t understand what they are doing because when a group of Indians conglomerate at one location, they decide to make their own rules. However, don’t blame this violation of convention on the South Asian youth; blame it on their parents who have showed them to not follow rules at popular social spots such Naz Cinema, and most recently, at the Hrithik Roshan Concert.
By the time everyone is inside, and the good times have begun. The girls are
doing synchronized routines they have practiced all week while the guys are
slowly looking around for the girl of their dreams. Finally, the guy finds
her, but before he can approach her, he must consult his friends 15 times on
technique, sprays an entire bottle of cologne on himself, and takes about 4
Listerine strips so that he may have the confidence to ask that beautiful
“chokri” for her number. Meanwhile, the clique of girls on the other side of
the dance floor are wondering which one of the girls is being “jocked” by the
guy who dresses a bit too much like Shah Rukh Khan (black Armani pants with a
light blue Banana Republic turtleneck). Why do all guys dress the same?
While physical attraction is fuming on the dance floor, the older 21+ crowd
is usually outside enjoying the patio area where socializing, sipping on
drinks, and flamboyancy are commonplace. The last thing to hit the party is
Bhangra music. The DJs have finally given way to the demands of the dhol
crazed lovers who have been waiting for the beat all night. The crowd is now
in pandemonium as people are going crazy by throwing their hands in the air
and the guys jumping on each others shoulders and screaming “balle balle” and
“shava shava” (not much different than you average Punjabi family party).
The party finally ends at 2:00 AM with the nocturnal desi crowd of 500 people
on the street still figuring out what to do for afterhours before they
realize that the only option available is Dennys for a late night snack.
The disclaimer to this article is that not all Indian parties are the same,
but the one thing that I have learned is, that everyone is going there to
have a good time with people who they happen to share a common culture with
and not have to experience the back lash of 9/11 on South Asians.
Mom: So, beta how was the party last night? You came home quite lateóóYou
like quite tired
Rahul: Music was great, lots of Bhangra you knowó.balle balleó.and then we
went to Dennys with the guysó.You know how we do
Dad: Yes, Im sure Rahul beta didn’t talk to any girls the whole night ó
Rahul Khanna earned a BA in Economics from UCLA and is the founder of Rahul