'(The Blog) With No Name', perhaps best described as a stream of notes and thoughts - 'remembered, recovered and (sometimes) invented'.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

'Pub City', Revisited

July is by far the best time of the year to be in Bangalore, that still-attractive city that has been renamed 'Bengaluru'; but all I got for local looking-around were just over 3 hours on a late afternoon and that too because an arrangement to meet someone on serious business did not work out. And regrettably, I had no time to meet up with local friends - old or new.

Anyways, I had the above-mentioned slice of time and decided to tramp it from 'Majestic' to MG Road, sort of goofed up my direction and ended at JC Road and then did a course-correction and walked down to and across Cubbon Park and... well, at the end of a lengthy 2 hours, I was on Brigade Road and searching for 'Pecos'.

I did not find that once-upon-a-time favorite haunt of mine but there were other similar establishments and at the entrance of one was a board advertising 'Happy Hours' from 10am to 6 pm.
1 Mug - 70 Rs - happy price 40 Rs
2 Pint -120 Rs - happy price 70 Rs
and so forth.

I saw the time. It was 5.55; and I entered and was surprised to see the place more than half empty.

I ask my waiter upfront, "Happy hours are on, right?"
He shows me his watch. It showed 5.57. He smiles a rather sympathetic smile at me and asks matter of factly: "What you want?". I say: "A pint".

He produces a largeish mug, which I notice is only around 80 percent full. But then, I am from 'dry' Ahmedabad and keen to get on with things.

About half a dozen minutes down, I have emptied the pint-mug. The waiter comes back and asks me. "What?"

I take a few seconds to do some mental calculations - which concern the additional kick any further consumption of the drink would produce and how it could impact the further 4-5 kilometers of walking that I have to do - thru Bangalore traffic(*). And then I hear him say:

"Happy hour over. So..."

I take a further few seconds to decide whether I should have another pint or just a mug when he says, ominously: "Pint, now 120 rupees, okay? Mug, 70". And he presently adds in Kannada with a generous smile:

"Actually, you go to some wine shop, you can get what you want - cheap!"

"Why wine shop?" I ask back in English (my own Kannada is minimal). "You wont give me more?"

"No, no... actually I thought..." he pauses, perhaps not sure what to say.

"Okay, give me one mug" I have finished my calculations. "Ondu maggu!"

He silently goes off and returns with a which is dispensed with, with relish.

The waiter comes with the same one-word query: "What?"

I hear myself responding with a question: "Are you going to close or...?" but then I quickly pull back and say. "Okay, bill!"

He brings the bill. I take my time, search my pocket exhaustively and pay for it with the only 1000 rupee note I have. He brings the balance. I again take my time to gather the cash in its entirety and step out; I see the waiter again at the doorway chatting with a doorkeeper - and he gives me what looks like a smile. The doorman appears to be smiling too and wishes me "Good evening, Sir!". I halt, fish out a wad of low denomination notes from my pocket, give the doorman 10 bucks, give the waiter (what must have looked like) a smile and walk into the raging traffic...

(*) - Most roads in Blore are one-way tracks. And many of these have medians. When one crosses such a road and semi-consciously follows the standard protocol of "look to your right and get to the median. Then look to your left and do the rest", a fatal accident is a very, very likely outcome. To those of my readers going to Blore, let me wish luck!


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