Thursday, September 11, 2008

Caution: Gents Ahead, Ladies Cursed

have you ever noticed how we girls always ONLY get the food menu when out with men? i mean, unless you go to a hardcore bar, where there is no food menu (a near-impossibility in a country obsessed with kuchh kabab-shabab with their sharaab) OR on a girls' night out, there is no way that the steward will give you a liquor menu. at best, he will delicately proffer you the 'wine list'. perhaps the unspoken gesture is his way of saying: "madam, only Sirji is allowed to make an ass of himself in our bar after a few drinks, and when we tire of him you must drive him home, for, hawwww, good girls only drink 'shandy' in public and brandy in bed".

and this is what Italians and Indians ALSO have in common. a few years sgo (in my young young days) at a restaurant in Brugge, this Italian patriarch refused (just REFUSED) to serve me grappa in his family-owned eatery, pampering me with everything but that wonderfully potent brew! i almost broke into his damn place at night just to gulp down every last drop of the garrullous granpa's grappa.

back home, after ordering a scotch on the rocks just to piss the pesky puritan off, you have to leave the bar at a 'decent time' to head home, often only to come head to head with the same parking dudes who were sniggering while you were trying to squeeze your little car in between two macho SUVs, the very same creeps who held a mini yajna praying for your failure to parallel park. hrrrmph! park you did, but also (in a very lady-like fashion) locked your keys inside (upon discovering which you cussed in a very un-ladylike fashion).

this was obviously done while basking in self-righteousness after re-writing Zen and the Perfect Parallel Park, a fact that was duly noted by the sniggering snakes to be savoured later, just after you curse and look for the elusive keys in your overcrowded handbag and just before they procure the magic futta to recover that damn piece of odd-shaped metal.

soon you're vrooming away. stopping at the first traffic signal on the way back home you might encounter pappoo sharma, guddu kapoor, chhotu varma, bunty singh, kittu nair, and babbal arora out on the town in sunny soni's mummyji's borrowed Mrrrooti 800, all of whom just can't get over the fact that "a ladiss is driving car at odd hour in a so so unsafe city like Delhi". after being gawked at by the goggle-eyed occupants of the overflowing gaddi, you shake your befuddled head only to encounter a grown up, drunken, lecherous and much more sinister version of the previous set.

points to remember here: skip the next light. don't try and slow down to a point where they may over take you, but don't drive fast enought to lead them on to believe you're a tease who wants to race. as you put on your most uninterested, dumb bimbette, i-can't-even-see-you expression, and sigh, you send a silent prayer up to heaven... to get you home safe and for someone who'd refuse these bastards a liquor list every once in a while!

phew! a few more skipped red lights and some clever driving not unknown to a woman, you crawl back home, vowing to drink only at lunch, safely sitting at your desk, OR take the office cab back on semi-adventurous night outs, OR buy a sleeping bag OR find more single friends who are willing to take you home in a doggy bag OR look for a former Mr Haryana to be your driver OR horror of horrors! become 10 again and not leave home after dusk!! oh, you could always pretend you are living in M. Night Shyamalan's (The) Village.

in fact, a colleague and i went out for a drink last night and while lazily strolling to our cars we wondered what it might be like to have a pub on the premises... imagine calling up and asking: "Hello, is this the Hadron Collider? yeah, could you please send up eleven pints of Kingfisher and some masala peanuts please?.... yes, that would be to the area with the important looking cluttered desks with a bunch of hard-working people emitting intell-type frequencies, poring over the fine print of political pandemonium.... oh, what the heck! just follow the hangover and you'll find it!"

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