Work took me to the city of joy last saturday. lots of interesting stuff happened. We met a japanese gentleman who bowed down an entire ninety degrees from his waist up. I tried my best to reciprocate, but could reach only 30 odd degrees before the relevant muscles started groaning in protest. The meeting lasted for about five hours and there were two things i learnt about our friends from the land of the rising sun. First, they are prone to dozing off during long meetings and second, they are very good at stonewalling any queries that require them to express any opinion other than one on mangoes. 'Maybe' and 'I check' are their favorite terms. Thus after a rather frustrating afternoon, which ended with the conclusions that 'he will check' and that 'eendiaan maangoes are vhery goooot!', I headed to a club called the Dalhousie Institute to meet friends Pita and Rony. We were room-mates for nearly an year in mumbai and had some pretty wild times together (as in booze parties, where new records in alcohol consumption were created every weekend..there was absolutely no sex as the term 'wild' might suggest..if one leaves out the odd kiss that rony and i shared in moments of utter inebriation that is). On my way, I passed the maidan and the Victoria memorial, soothing sights for eyes that were still stinging from tears of japan-induced desperation.
As expected, rony and pita had failed to qualify in the prelims of the DI open quiz. DI open quiz, as they tell me has been taking place for the last 36 centuries or something and is legendary in kolkata quizzng circles. So we sat in the club lawns for about an hour, sipping on beer and watching the brilliant Neil O'Brien carrying out a masterful quiz show. The standards of quizzing were very high. and as has been happening whenever i go to a quiz lately, I felt ashamed at calling myself a quizzer.
Anyhow, Pita then took me to Some Place Else, which I am told is the only decent pub in kolkata. I have to say that its brilliant. Rock music and mellow whiskey do indeed a great combination make. We were already buzzing, reminiscing about our days of debauchery in mumbai when Rony and soon after his sprightly girlfriend Mouparna joined us. I am sure she has a terrible opinion of me because the first thing Rony told her was: 'Brandy thinks bong women are slutty' (Dude, couldnt you have said SULTRY???). almost the entire evening was spent in trying to undo the damage by putting on display my best behaviour and not cracking any silly jokes. We headed back towards Rony's place where I spent the night and had a sumptuous meal of Doi Maach in the morning before heading back to mumbai.
Even though I am not a connoisseur of bong food, I can safely say that Rony's mother cooks the best fish ever. I am sure Rony would back me on this one. Eating that meal made my wish all over again that i was born a bong. Nothing beats lounging around shirtless all day, smoking, farting and eating fish that only bong women can prepare so well. Next life maybe.
All in all, a memorable visit. Another trip is likely soon, by when the Japanese gentleman will have hopefully 'checked' and will have an opinion. So till we meet again Kolkata!
ps: Noticed something rather curious at the kolkata airport. There is an inordinately long list of personnel not required to undergo security check. Most of the items read: 'Prime Minister' or 'Ambassador of any country' etc, recognising that it the office and not the individual that is respect/trust-worthy. But item number 23 on that list reads: 'Robert Vadra, when accompanied by National Security Guards'. So this man is real big. Bigger than Priyanka too??