Saturday, May 21, 2005

Nightlife at a premium

Being nocturnal comes at a cost in Delhi.

At about 10 o’clock in the night, IIMI would be full of life. Nothing ever happens in the morning. Except a few larks, no one wakes up before 8 o’clock. People fight to keep themselves awake in the morning, trying to catch up with all the lost sleep. Many crash into the bed during the afternoon. Some souls go into ‘sports mode’ in the afternoon/evening and crash after dusk, after rummaging through the evening snacks. Some souls (like me) used to make it to the gym in the evening, grab a quick nap and wake up in time for dinner. Net-net, all of them would be awake at 10 pm in the night. That’s when things really happen – studies, assignments, mugging, group meets, batch meets, game tournaments… you name it.

But then, the summer message is: life can’t be same all the time. If you try to take that 1 year weird habit of yours into the rest of your life, you’re ruined - especially in a city other than Mumbai, as I hear.

A relatively darker version of Chandoo, as he signs himself these days, told us that he’d be in Delhi for 3 days and he wanted to meet people ‘face to face’. Poor soul, he’s been traveling under the hot sun in arguably the hottest (for all the wrong reasons – weather) cities in India – Nagpur, Baroda, Ahmedabad etc. A marketing field job really kills you. At the least, it darkens you. Since we had other plans (later canceled) for the weekend, we planned to meet on the day he arrived. We had to meet after 8 pm in the night because he had scheduled visit to some hospitals in the evening. Since he was put up in a hotel in the far north side of Delhi and we (Amit and I) were put up in south Delhi, we had to meet up somewhere in between. All I could think of was Connaught Place and the first place that came to my mind was McDonald’s. It sounded simple. No one in Delhi can be unaware of CP, and once in CP, McDonald’s would be one of the easiest to find – or so I thought.

Amit and I reached the place on time – 9 pm in the night. That’s when I realized that Delhi doesn’t have a night life. Shops started to close, crowd was 1/3rd of the usual quota, and even autos were lesser in number. Chandoo had real difficulty in finding the place since his auto driver didn’t know what the ‘inner circle of CP’ meant and he dropped him in the outer circle. For a person who’s new to CP, it could look like a maze. But for the hotels, fast food outlets and bars, most of the shops were closed. Crowd was clearly the car-owning type - mostly families, or couples or single men. You don’t have to be a genius to figure that single women won’t dare to step into the dark streets in the night. Not in a city that’s also famous for all the wrong reasons – rape. You could almost expect a news clip or two about rape in page 3, which is supposed to contain news about the city.

Finally, after several frantic calls, Chandoo made it. It was 9.30 pm. As the ‘closed’ signs were being programmed into all the billing machines, we managed to squeeze an order. And then another one. It was 10.30 pm when we were done with all the eating and chatting, and I knew that commuting would become a problem. We decided to leave, without other choices.

Most of the shops were shut. Crowd was few and far, mostly in bars etc. Fortunately, we found some ‘friends of travelers’ – autos – around the corner. Chandoo, having stayed in Mumbai for about a month, was clearly not amused. He was asking us “How could the national capital shut down at 10 pm in the night?” I thought may be Delhi is unsafe for women in the night because all the establishments are closed? If market places are crowded - given a chance, I guess it would be - wouldn’t those felons think thrice about abducting girls? Chandoo was still cribbing “Mumbai barely starts at 10 pm, and that’s when people do serious shopping!” If only answers are so simple…


At Saturday, May 21, 2005 9:52:00 PM, Blogger rohit kaul said...

i completely agree with wat ya said towards the end.But this is jst one of the probs tht dli has.only the ppl who have their own means of conveyance can afford to travel at nite in dli coz after 10 pm there r hardly ne buses or autos on the road and even if ya find an auto its gonna charge a huge premium as NIGHT FARE....damn the bludy autowalas....

If i put it in dli's parlance its called the khao, khujao and batti bujhao attitude.... :) :) :)...cant help sumthings can v:D


At Monday, May 23, 2005 9:26:00 AM, Blogger Abhi said...

hey buddy.coming here after a long time.n yup , its a rude shock to see people actually wrapping up before 2 am after spending an year at the IIMs.

At Monday, May 23, 2005 9:52:00 AM, Anonymous Chandoo said...

hehe.. nice account of our little gettogether. :D, me back in mumbai. Safe and happy.

At Monday, May 23, 2005 11:17:00 AM, Blogger Govar said...

@Rohit: well said.. Amen

@Vagabond: Same everywhere eh?

@Chandoo: Good. But don't post much abt nightlife. Unless u want me to be jealous.

At Monday, May 23, 2005 11:20:00 AM, Anonymous Chandoo said...

jealous.. i have little time left here. :D will make max use of it.

At Monday, May 23, 2005 11:24:00 AM, Blogger Govar said...

*Grudge* *Whine* *Gripe* *Weep* *wail*

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