I’m not proud to recount part of this tale. To be honest it’s a bit embarrassing. But in the spirit of transparency and full disclosure I’m going to retell my experience about how I made an ass of myself in front of a bunch of RCB players as candidly as possible.
The night of my first IPL party was on a Saturday night after a fantastic match culminating in RCB winning their home game. Although the party took place in a ballroom upstairs at the five star hotel ITC Gardenia, I started the evening downstairs in their sports bar because it’s one of the few spots in town that serves Viña Esmerelda…and I wanted a glass of my favourite white Spanish wine. It wasn’t terribly crowded but to my surprise some of the who’s-who of the KSCA and a handful of the RCB cricketers were also there. I said hello to the guys I knew and sipped my glass of wine with a friend. Then after about 30 minutes we headed up to the party.
In some respects, it turns out that IPL after-match parties aren’t so unlike other exclusive events and parties in Bangalore. There is a core group of celebrities and local VIPs who are sought out by the event management company and asked to come. Other guests are the big-wigs within the industry, also in this case the cricketers and cheerleaders and RCB’s high-end season ticket holders and sponsors and partners. Then there are people within the media and nightlife and entertainment world, both the key journalists and owners of the establishments and the regular page three crowd with connections…which is how I made it in since I’m not a fan of exploiting my limited KPL or KSCA contacts for things like this.
Everyone is slapped with a colour coded plastic bracelet upon entry. Essential or not, from a prissy-girly standpoint I really hate this because it never seems to match my outfit or other jewellery. But…there’s no way around it because it’s used to segment the crowd into those with access to the VIP room and everyone else. The physical layout of the party has three basic zones: the large, low-lit clubby ballroom divided into VIP and general zones with loud pumping music, and then a well-lit area just outside the ballroom with the photo call wall and a couple of bars…and in theory the only area where everyone and anyone could mingle together. In each of the three areas there were well dressed waiters hand-passing yummy appetizers and free flowing open bars, which is always a nice treat. And hats off to the sponsors of this particular IPL event – Black Dog – because they selected to serve the best red wine of any event I’ve been to in Bangalore so far (normally the lowest-end Indian wines are served) along with a variety of spirits…so thanks, guys!
Maybe my expectations for the party were too high but when I first went in I was a bit surprised. I grabbed a glass of red wine and was with friends but to be honest it was actually more fun downstairs in the sports bar because the addition of the VIP room meant that anyone who didn’t have access to the VIP zone wanted in. And that was us. Here in Bangalore, VIP areas are sort of hit and miss. I’ve been in VIP areas at parties here in Bangalore that are actually much less fun than the rest of the party because they are set too far apart, the DJ is too far away and they are often smaller, cramped and with no room to dance. But that wasn’t the case at the IPL after-match party as it was home to the DJ and had special lighting, a catwalk and stage and was chockablock full with the players. People wanted in so bad that I saw pretty girls in elegant cocktail dresses monitoring the security staff and then hopping over the barrier into VIP, which shocked the hell out of me because I’ve never seen people do that.
Eventually the party started to fill up, more friends arrived and then the entertainment started. The party played host to a fashion show with several familiar model faces. After that the music kicked up and the White Mischief cheerleaders performed, which I always have mixed feelings about because the majority of the girls are white. They are fun as hell to watch but the truth is that it doesn’t help break down the stereotype of white women here in India, which is something I struggle with all the time. Anyway, they did up the vibe of the place and injected energy into the party. After that the MC brought up the MVP of the match and then the DJ took over on stage. From that point on, the catwalk turned into a dance floor and the party seemed to transform into a hoppin’ club.
That’s also the point when I was given an upgraded bracelet and shifted into the VIP zone. Some of my friends inside had just hopped up onto the catwalk but in a silk dress I really didn’t see any hopping in my future. Plus I felt damn old surrounded by the cheerleaders – some of which are half my age – so I stayed on the ground, chatted with friends and grabbed another glass of wine. And that was a big mistake.
What happened next is really out of character for me. I was born in Los Angeles and we are taught from an early age to never pay special attention to celebrities, we don’t ask for autographs (except Mickey Mouse at Disneyland, that’s okay!) and we never walk up and start randomly speaking to stars or sports figures. They are a part of everyday life in L.A. and it’s simply rude and annoying for them. But something inside me snapped and a few minutes later I decided to go introduce myself to a group of the RCB players and as embarrassing as it is to admit, my opening line was so damn lame that it borders on the most ridiculous line EVER. I walked up and said, “hey, wow, white guys!” OMG! What the heck was THAT? Maybe I did it because I had so much fun with the Aussie and British players during Champions League last year but it was a stupid and highly embarrassing move. I interrupted whatever fun conversation the guys were having, and then basically cornered Daniel Vettori for a few minutes. So embarrassing (and guys, if you read this, I’m really sorry!).
The party went on until the wee hours, which was a massively welcome break from the usual 23:30 end everywhere else in town. It was fun and full of energy and I’m officially a big fan of the IPL after-match parties…now I just need to watch my wine intake so I don’t make an ass out of myself at the next one!