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Partying in the city
Wherever I've been going lately, I've been asked, "Been to Anidra?" Chances are, if you're over 30, you haven't heard of the happening new nightclub at The Aman, where Delhi's rich heirs of liberation hang out over weekends. I've been hearing a variety of stories from regulars; a friend sniffled and told me about the VT station-type jostling and how she was turned away at the entrance, a serious confidence crumbler when you're 21. Another told me how well the bouncers handle the typical Delhi cliche — of aggressive men fist-thumping hotel officials. In a triumph of sorts, the line 'tu jaanta hai main kaun hoon?' has apparently been replaced by accented English and more subtle name dropping.
When we were teenagers growing up in Delhi in the '90s, a night out meant a trip to a Bollywood film, or, on special occasions, a visit to the city's legendary, and the only disco, Ghungroo. Bangalore already had a thriving pub culture, Mumbai had an enviable night scene, while Delhi remained a village. Anyone who was brave enough to start a bar/restaurant outside of a five-star would succumb to the inevitable brawl or kniving incident, or raids by cops. For decades, a city of over 10 million had nowhere to party except five-stars, where exorbitant prices ensured you couldn't do it too often. On the flip side, it meant some measure of safety, since no one can get drunk on 500 bucks worth of booze (a huge amount of money to spend on an evening back then).
Happily though, now we can safely say, Delhi is the most happening city in India. There are over 150 bars and nightclubs just in the stretch between Hauz Khas and MG Road, with new ones opening every week. Mumbai is, in fact, alarmingly, becoming a village, beset as it is with a moralising police force determined to uphold archaic laws and raid bars for random reasons. Exasperated Mumbaikars can't do much and have taken to armchair activism on Facebook and Twitter. But sarcastic tweets like "cops arresting the clouds for overcrowding the sky over Mumbai" aren't going to change anything. Similarly, Bangalore pubs shut at 11:30 pm, completely ignoring the BPO culture where, for thousands of people, the work day begins about that time.
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