Safe conversation starters that won't turn your party into World War III
The next time you feel discussions taking a turn for the worst, talk about these instead
In these divided times, picking conversation starters has become an extreme sport.
Politics, Greta Thunberg’s eco-activism, whether Pluto is a planet or not – everything seems to rile us up and the motto ‘agree to disagree’ disintegrates faster than buddhi ka baal on your tongue.
Traditional conversation starters quickly devolve into a tu tu main main, turning your chill nights into a hot mess.
Before we know it, the Monopoly board is thrown across the room, your ancestry is called into question and the anger lasts beyond the next day’s hangover.
That’s not to say these important conversations shouldn’t happen. But there’s a time and place for heated debate and unfortunately, Chintu’s fifth birthday isn’t it.
The next time you feel the discussion taking a turn for the violent in a casual setting, loudly segue into any one of these universally loved topics instead.
They’re the safe conversation starters (and savers) which can help you bring down the temperature of the room, and Monu Chacha’s BP.
1. Andaz Apna Apna
Andaz Apna Apna (AAA) may not have been a success when it first released, but it has inspired generations of inside jokes, memes and GIFs.
It brought together two Khans who made this film transform into a cult classic, and gave us the lasting genius that is Crime Master Gogo.
Even if someone in your group hasn’t watched the film, there will be plenty of others ready to jump in and tell them what they’ve missed out on.
Congratulations, you’ve just deflected World War III.
2. Rakhi Sawant’s wrestling match
Rakhi Ka Swayamwar may have gotten the TRPs but it’s her smackdown with a professional woman wrestler that needs to be experienced. Hopefully, one day, in 3D.
There’s just so much happening here that you need to take in.
Her traditional attire, the dancing and flamboyant moves.
The entire dramatic face-off between the two and Rakhi Sawant’s takedown with subsequent twerking of the wrestler over her limp body.
Your friends may be on opposite sides of the political debate, but they will unite to cheer for India’s number one entertainer.
It used to be that Crocs were only acceptable if you were under the age of 5 and decorated yours with those little flower button charms.
Those look adorable.
But if you’re older and walking around in footwear inspired by Swiss cheese, it’s a dead giveaway that you’re in IIT.
It’s OK, your life is hard, we’ll give you a break.
The brand tried a new tactic of bringing on Priyanka Chopra Jonas as their new brand ambassador for 2020, forcing us to ask the question: will this be the reason Crocs finally become mainstream?
We can all universally agree that Crocs will never be socially acceptable.
4. Bappi Lahiri grandson
The human gold souk that is Bappi Da needs no introduction, but have you met his grandson?
The real jewel in the family is Swastik Bansal — his equally dapper puchka of a grandson.
You can’t help but squeal at his adorable-ness, whether he’s rocking a bow tie with gold shoes, piloting a pretend plane or leading the pack at a Durga Puja drum circle.
Swastik Bansal is our favourite conversation starter and has got us hooked. We nominate him to replace all flight announcements on Indian airplanes.
5. Baba Sehgal’s music
Baba Sehgal has proven time and again that he is the greatest contribution to rap music since words were invented.
Kanye may be cool and Jay Z is a gazillionaire, but can either of them get you singing loudly about why you love chicken fried rice?
We aspire to have Baba Sehgal levels of confidence and cheer. He’s a man who finds light in the dreariest of days with the kind of motivation that’s makes Santa Claus seem like a real Debbie Downer.
Just tell the sparring party crowd, “Khao jalebi aur samosa, don’t break anybody’s bharosa.”
6. Ghost stories
Whether you’re the kind of person who gets a kick out of staying in haunted hotels and visiting beautiful graveyards or watch horror movies with all the lights on and the volume on low, there’s no denying the thrill you experience listening to a ghost story.
It doesn’t even have to be a ghost story, even urban legends that have crossed borders and stood the test of time. You know, the one about the woman in a white sari (or a red wedding lehenga) walking on deserted highways at night?
And for the day when these foolproof strategies turn into epic fails, there’s a weapon of mass distraction you can fall back on.
Save those with the speed of people darting for a seat on the Delhi metro.
In the meanwhile, enjoy these samplers.