Moving into our new home in the year 2004 was a much awaited moment for our family of four. A central location, panoramic vistas and a distinctive décor fused into seeming perfection as a living space. To be more accessible hosts, the sensible thing seemed not a monster housewarming bash, but welcoming guests over to its inviting interiors in a phased manner, some time after we actually moved in.
I was still dressing when the first guest arrived- way before time. I hurried down to my duties as a hostess, and gradually the other guests drifted in . Amidst the drinks and hors d’oevres, we were startled to hear the patter of unexpected rain and a growl of thunder- most unusual for that time of year or the cloudless skies of that day.My daughter, quite inappropriately was calling attention to the Swarovski chandelier- rainbow hues twinkling from each gleaming teardrop crystal. Without a warning, the scintillation stopped and all the lights went out. The party was plunged into unexpected darkness, even as we expected the generator to do its usual job.
Simultaneously, there was a mysterious sound of gushing water on the terrace landing which soon commenced to cascade down two series of stairs, to make its way to the guests below. In the rush to meet the early birds, I had been remiss in closing the terrace door. The spouse chided me, but there was more to the flood’s origin. The drainpipe in the aftermath of construction was choked with debris, resulting in a terrifying backflow of water.
Some lights came on intermittently, sufficient for salvage ops. The caterers’ staff went way beyond the call of duty, likewise the watchman’s family and labourers still on the premises to stanch the frightening flow. Every bit of available linen was pressed into action as makeshift mops. The dripping hosts leading operations had to change out of their chosen party outfits. The downpour eventually stopped, and with it the interior waterfall. Even with the generator back-up, the fuse kept tripping. Lights blinked on and off; only those with lower candlepower allowed the party to proceed with muted illumination. In a way it gave the place a period feel, to match the furniture. As we would later discover, we had been given just the standard amount of back-up power allotted to all apartments- not the full complement that a large three storey penthouse would require.
Eventually, regular power was restored. Guests could take in the interiors of our new abode, and lavished their praise. The buffet laid out on the Chippendale style Dining table was also appreciated as suitably sumptuous fare.
The evening’s mishaps, horribly embarrassing as they were opened our eyes to glaring systemic problems in our new home that may never otherwise have come to light. The Housewarming was more in the nature of a Housewarning. Subsequent bashes took place without a hitch.
– Giselle D Mehta