I had a favorite beer buddy in Delhi. This was in the days I was pretending to be an entrepreneur (I gave up the day someone pointed out that a Bengali entrepreneur was an oxymoron). This pal was our mentor and helped us by picking holes (and he had an extremely sharp implement for a brain) in every plan we came up with. However, these brainstorming sessions was a flimsy wrap for very long drinking sessions.
There is this place in Asiad Village on Khelgaon Marg in the capital which was our favourite hangout. Over the years the place has metamorphosed number of times. From a long benchy (beer lao) place to a warm cozy (pitcher please) hangout to now a very steel and glass (vodka and tonic) kitty party place.
Our mentor used to travel from Noida, where he claimed he worked. We never really delved into that side of his life as long as the bubbly was paid for. The sessions had a reassuring repetitiveness about them. The two of us were the core and on different afternoons of the week the number would vary from two to five (depending on whether we were discussing brand names or intricate distribution strategies).
Once the business was dealt with, which took about half a pitcher the real business would start. Usually when we reached the fourth pitcher (this was when there was the two of us) one of us would have had enough of the long walk to the men’s and would suggest asking for the bill.
“Who said OFTR” would be the refrain from the other party. Invariably neither would have. So another pitcher (it was an insult to our belly guts to order mugs) would have to be ordered. The magic words would be said BEFORE placing the order and the bill requested. That would be the final sign to bring the business discussion to an end. And totter to our respective vehicles.
It was a good rule. The ride home did feel much better after that last one for the road.