Two New Yorkers spend six months 18 months!?! in Bangalore and other places in India.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Night at the Hookah

Hookah Nightclub
Originally uploaded by jrambow.
During our visit to Mysore last weekend, we met up with an acquaintance staying there for yoga training. He very kindly took us to what's just about the only nightclub for miles around. The Hookah! As you can see from the photo, this Egyptian-themed place is completely awesome. It's part of Planet X, a big sports complex on the outskirts of town. The place also has a large restaurant, drag racing, a bowling alley, and other stuff. Because the place is a little far out, we had to pay a largish rickshaw fee, which included the driver waiting around for us.

Outside the grand entrance to the club, a large sign said "positively no stags," but since our friend Ray knew the doorman, we all got in. Admission was steep, at 400 rupees, but it was good against food and drink. Inside, the Egyptian theme was in full force, with a big sarcaphogus-head for a DJ booth and hookahs.

After a bit, the doorman came up to me and asked me not to take any pictures inside, since he'd seen my camera. Having dancing going on is not exactly encouraged in this area, and it's kind of amazing that there is one at all. Being away from the main drag may have helped.

The small-but-impressive dance floor was packed with what Don said may very well have been the coolest kids for 100 miles around. The music was pretty good -- a mix of hip hop, bhangra, some older alternative music, and, of course, Bryan Adams, who is very big in India (he played Bangalore and Mumbai a couple weeks ago). We were some of the smattering of whites there, but there were also a half-dozen of so black people -- surprising, since I've seen maybe four in my three weeks in Bangalore. I couldn't think of any polite way to ask, but I was wondering where they were from. Ray talked with one of them and solved the mystery. Despite the Yankee caps and athletic gear they were wearing, they were South African college students studying in the area. From the sounds of it, they were a little homesick.

We'd gotten there around 10:15 or so, so it was already approaching the bar's closing time. In Mysore (as in Bangalore), it's at the no-so-wild hour of 11:30. Don and I decided that we had better get another drink to try to recoup some more of that 400 rupees. We ordered two brandies -- it seemed like a good idea at the time. The bartender, who looked as if he was about 16, said what we thought meant that they had no brandy, or maybe just not the brands on the extensive drinks and food menu. First Don and then I gave him our respective tickets anyway, since it wasn't clear what the deal was. I asked for brandy a few more times, for good measure, and the bartender looked at me a little strangely. We weren't exactly heartbroken, but it was a letdown that we'd handed over our soon-to-be-worthless tickets over nonexistent brandy.

At just about 11:30 on the dot, two heaping plates of rice appeared, with forks sticking out of them. Brandy, biryani (the rice dish they'd made), it probably does sound pretty much the same when a remix of "Summer of '69" is blasting in the background and the menu contains so many possibilities.

We all laughed, we couldn't help it, but mostly I felt bad that someone had spent the time cooking up dishes that we definitely couldn't eat at that point. We did manage to get all that rice wrapped to go. Since we were leaving tomorrow, we gave the heavy containers to the rickshaw driver when he dropped us off at the hotel, so hopefully all that biryani didn't go to waste. And that was our big night out in Mysore.


Anonymous said...

As to the black people comment of yours, have come across African students studying in Chennai and in Delhi. Its possible that there is some kind of educational institution in Mysore that they might be attending.

Anonymous said...

Oops obviously scanned the post and missed parts of it this afternoon. I see that you'd already arrived at the same answer well before I did. Note to self, read posts properly before opening big mouth :)