A couple of days back a friend from my Engg days was compelled to invite me to his birthday bash at swanky pub in town – compelled because if it were not for a mutual friend of ours, I would have given it a miss and he wouldn’t have cared a shit. So after a particularly pleasurable session at a quiet diner, Atlantean & I made our way to Bottles & Chimney (B&C), the pub in discussion.
B&C started way back in 2001, the same yr I joined my Engg and rose to prominence through a particularly dark incident involving a group of underaged boys & girls who ran up a bill of ten grand that was prominently taken up by the pseudo liberal activists of the city. Nevertheless, this place always managed to get the best looking and the least dressed babes in town out for a wild night and for a while during my college days, this place was a regular destination.
Finally, after I discovered the joys of Coffee and soft music, I kind of lost touch with places like B&C even though I still go there in the afternoons for a quite brunch with old friends. But what I failed to realize is that the nights in Hyderabad have changed dramatically and for a while that night, I felt like a villager coming to grips with a fast paced city.
The first thing I felt when I got a full view of the crowd there was that Gandhiji would have felt proud seeing so many women following in his footsteps of renouncing any extra clothing that covered anything but the barest of essentials. Now, I am used to such environments but that night was something else. And walking in as a stag rendered me even more foolish, as I was probably among a handful to have done so.
The birthday boy as usual was in his elements and his latest female companion’s gross weight was less than her makeup but then after 4 long yrs, I am used to his surprises. But what struck me the most were the people who were at the party.
Hyderabad is usually known for its laid back attitude and takes a lot of pride in its heritage and culture. The city as such is conservative with only a minority of the affluent indulging in compromising activities at public places. Of course everything goes on but it’s mostly hushed and is behind closed doors. But the situation seems to have changed drastically in the last 6months that I have been out of sync with the night life here.
People of all age groups were putting on quite a show to be THE HAPPENEING CROWD and get a picture taken to feature in the next edition on P3. There were cautious glances being cast all around and each one was totally disinterested in the partner at hand. Everyone looked as if they were searching for someone; everyone appeared to be having the same thought in their mind as to whether they were jellying well with the crowd. The act being put up was quite unconvincing as none of the faces conveyed the gay abandon that they portrayed to be feeling. And watching it all from a remote corner was an interesting experience.
Usually I am with a pack that do know how to party and I have been through some really wild nights but this day, thanks to the long day at work and a pleasant evening spent through catching up of old times with a dear friend, the mood to be a part of the brash crowd never materialized. Also the lack of any meaningful women made it all the more boring but I was really jolted by the culture shock. It was like entering a place that was so artificial and manufactured that at some point when a guy made insane gestures in his bewilderment at the knowledge that I was downing a shot of ‘Jack’ – which is apparently the American phrase for an old English drink – I just had to escape from that dungeon.
I don’t know whether it’s me who’s changed or whether I have been overtaken by the changing times but I guess I no longer can do what all those guys were claming to be doing. My host actually referred that this watering hole was his weekly getaway and that Thursday nights were his particular favorites. Now the advent and shady changes that BPO has inflicted on Hyderabad can be discussed in a later post but I believe I can never blow up two grand every week just to be a part of the happening crowd even if it were my money and even though I can afford it.
Personally I have nothing against those men and women who frequent such places but I now I fail to see the point in such melees. There was a time not long ago when I used to crave for such nights on town and used to love the attention and the glitz of night clubs but after the last party I finally believe I have moved on.
Another friend referred that I would be in a place soon where such parties are regular and that I would frequent quite a few and he dismissed my claim that that I would no longer have an interest in such get together’s. Probably true, but I guess most will be to get over the inquisitive phase of a new culture than actually to enjoy and to be a part of them. But in Hyderabad, again, nahh…