When I walked in that Thursday night, it seemed a bit under par in headcount. I wasn’t complaining as I attached myself to the bar. The draught glass appeared. I took a gulp and looked around.
Next to me were two tallish specimens. One a bit rakish. The other a bit fattish. Both a bit loud. Draught beer and vodka tonic and not their first. I slowly swiveled the other way. A really button popping specimen cradling a whisky water smiled at me. My nightmare. I can’t remember names. He looked familiar and effusively greeted me with “Long time, no see”. I murmured the usual “How u doing, boss”. This looked like a one draught night for me.
The music could have been better. “You are my hero”, sung as if it was a lead in an Opera version of “Night of the Long Knives” at 11 pm after a day of no ideas for a brand presentation at 1030 am the next day, wasn’t helping. Needed some comforting and numbing. Just as I was about to give up on the night, things, as they are wont to, looked up.
She was alone and in a red spaghetti. And she choose to settle down at the bar next to the draught beer and vodka tonic. The whisky water next to me perked up as if he had a ruler shoved up his shirt back. Waiter A looked pleased as plum.
Fatty with Vodka suddenly realized that life had a new purpose. The Rake had been informed, who was soon checking out Red Spaghetti in an obviously obvious manner. This was not going down too well with button popper to my left, who was trying to pierce the Rake with his deadly glare. I think the whisky had dulled the usual sharpness of his killer laser eyes.
Soon, Rake and Fatty started behaving themselves. That is they starting acting like men. Desmond, old fellow, could have added an entire chapter to his book. Soon, in even louder voices, the best single malts were being enquired about. Water A’s smile grew wider. I think they stopped short of Blue Label. Having spent a grand on thin slices of peat smoked Scottish water, courage was soaring.
Then, Spaghetti asked for the bill. Ooops! But the Rake wasn’t giving up. A conversation between Waiter A and Rake ensued at the end of the bar. Outcome: A came and informed Red that Rake had paid her bill. She was a bit flustered but recovered admirably. She accepted graciously, smiled at the Rake warmly, spoke a few words, picked up her handbag and left!
Rake and Fatty started an animated discussion about the single malt bill, Button Popper was grinning as if Red had agreed to meet him after closing hours, Waiter A was still smiling. I asked for another and retuned my ears to the dulcet charms of the female Pavarotti.
Another day in Mumbai was downing shutters.