June 22, 2004

Dabbling as an Indian Mallrat

Today I decided that I could stay on campus no longer -- after spending two weeks shuttling back and forth between the Visitor's Hostel and the lab, it was time to break from the familiarity of a path well-trodden and venture outside the walls of IITK.

So I decided to go to the mall.

I emailed the people in my lab to see if they wanted to get off campus as well, but they were busy, so they recommended that I get a taxi to take me to Rave-3, the shopping center in Kanpur. I wondered if I would be able to find a taxi to take me home later, but that didn't turn out to be a problem because apparently the taxi drivers just wait around for you until you're done with whatever place they take you to.

At first, I thought this was great since it would save me the ordeal of finding another taxi later. Unfortunately, it turned out to be really annoying because my two drivers just followed me around the mall. The feeling of liberation that I had acquired from leaving campus was dwarfed by the feeling of being chaperoned, and I found this impossible to communicate this to my new sidekicks.

Though the mall looked really big from the outside, it only had about ten stores inside (I think that most of the volume of the place was taken up by movie theaters.) So when I thought that I had run out of stores to explore, I asked what else there was, and the driver with the broken English (who was actually the same person who drove me from Lucknow to Kanpur) pointed upstairs and said "bar." Since it had been over two weeks since I had had a drop of alcohol, and since I was really curious to see what Indian beer tasted like, I decided to check it out.

The place turned out to be more of a restaurant than a bar, so I sat down at a table and ordered a bottle of Kingfisher, as it was the only beer they had (there was also a list of Cocktails as well as virgin "Mocktails," in which I had no interest). I assumed that my drivers would wander off somewhere when I entered the restaurant, but nope, they didn't. They just sat down at the table with me and watched me drink my beer.

This was too much for me, so again I tried to explain to them that they should just go and explore the mall and that I would meet them at the car at 10pm as planned. Again, this failed, but then a waiter (or maybe he was the maitre d') was kind enough to come over and translate for me, so I was finally able to dine alone.

The beer itself looked like it could have come from DAD's garage. By that, I mean that it had some unfamiliar label on it that was sliding off, as the bottle had probably been sitting in an ice chest for 5-6 months. Also, the beer tasted like bark.

Nevertheless, it was refreshing.

Posted by Michael at June 22, 2004 01:22 PM

Posted by: Gaddy on June 23, 2004 at 10:14AM:
Posted by: Raoul on June 25, 2004 at 4:48PM: