Give me hope Joanna, playing in a lively pub in Mumbai. Its 11:30 pm, I have a glass of whiskey sour in front of me. I am sitting in the corner of the pub. There are a billion people in front of me, dressed for the night, dressed for partying and dressed to serenade. The waiter is dancing, the mop boy is dancing and ofcourse from what I remember seeing there was a continuity of human roaring like a violent sea. I couldn't figure out where one person ended and the other began.
My eyes are stuck on the smoking room's window. A room as wide as a single public toilet. Lit pretty brightly in contrast to the lighting in the pub. I want to have a smoke, but I have to wait till the room clears of the 10 people who are already in there. A couple leaves, a friend and I quickly go in for a puff. Sound of the song falls several amplitude and I hear people now.
A guy, 24-25 years, trim and clean offers to light one for the new people who just entered the brethren room. 2 of them are pretty well dressed women.
Guy: "I have seen you somewhere, very fami - very familiar face.."
Girl: "Thanks for the light, nope I have never seen you" Smiles all along..
Guy: "Ah.. too bad.. tell me something are you in media"?
Girl: "Nope, I work for an investment banking firm"
Another guy who was giving a smile to the girls now fills in
Guy2: "Ah thats cool, pardon this media guy.. I work for JP morgan"
Girl: "Oh thats good, so so.. ah.. what do you do"
Guy: "I work for the debt capital in the south east Asian market"
Girl: "Oh thats nice.. I work for blah blah..."
After some more randomness
Guy: "You know these are tough time, 2 years back it was bad, a year back it was worse .. and now its a question mark"
Girl: "Yeah, about that.. tough times.. the rule now is stick to your job unless the kick you out"
Everyone starts laughing at this 'joke'...
Media guy now wants to be part of this conversation
Guy:" Ah you guys are boring.. let talk about something else now.. tell me something how do you find this guys voice"
Girl: "Ah yeah I noticed, you really have a deep voice..."
At this point I have given up and leave the public toilet.
By now I am extremely overwhelmed. I have never seen such things happen in Bangalore. For starters there is space between people and for conversation we discuss weather, rock bands and politics. We also dont share our education backgrounds or where we work.
But this is not a Bangalore > Mumbai talk, this is actually me experiencing something very different for the first time in my life. For a person who loves his personal space, this started off as a nightmare but now slowly he wants to be part of the human continuum that this place is. Just like the conversation, hated it in the beginning but in hindsight it was actually a kickass way to strike a conversation (ofcourse discounting the duechebagness of the guys there, but mostly I feel so as I was jealous of me not being a part of that conversation)
Mumbai is small, its congested, it makes the bangalorean in me to cringe but at the end of the day this quite lounge drinker is entertained in a high energy cramped up bar. The energy flow between complete strangers here is overwhelming. In a physics type analogy I feel the energy transmission is better here as its conduction as oppose to convection in the Bangalore pubs. No wonder people just fall into this sea and become a part of it almost immediately.
I enjoyed last night. 2 guys walked into a bar met and spoke to so many people, a social therapy almost unthinkable in Bangalore.
Its like beer you know, you know its famous for its goods. But when you drink it the first time you hate it. But very quickly you want it even more. It brings together a lot of people, it makes you do crazy things (and you can blame it on beer) but eventually its part of a lot of good things that brings a smile in you face and dance step in your feet!
2 months in, I have been giving up on the crib of space, learning to adjust in this small, cramped city called Mumbai.