I have always been curious about the mind of a drunkard or a drunken person. But I have never tried to enter into their world myself. (Neither do I expect myself to do so in future). This curiosity has led to quite a few interesting conversations. I might have read a few articles about the same once or twice. But I had never had the courage to actually enter a real bar. Let me say that my curiosity had strokes of disdain and nonchalance.
However some unexpected events are inevitable in life. I happened to go to Mangalore to watch a good Kannada movie called “Lucia” along with a friend (who wished to remain anonymous because of his distinguished career in NITK politics). This friend of mine is also a teetotaller but, he visits bars and pubs in Bangalore and elsewhere to see hot women and have “interesting” conversations with people. He offered me to guide me through this interesting place called “Liquid Lounge” somewhere in the Hampanakatta area of Mangalore.
The guy was very proud about the fact that he could walk into any bar with anybody and still walk out sober. According to this guy, an intelligent person has to buy a coke and then sip it very slowly while others drown in alcohol. Personally, I felt that there was no point in going to such a place. But still, it was a pretty persuasive offer which I could not reject.
It was a rainy Friday night. The time was about 9.30. We hopped off the auto and walked into the shadiest place I’ve ever seen. There was an short undernourished lady and goon like figure standing near the entrance. There were a few tables outside the bar, which were fully occupied by men suffering from their midlife crisis and a few young guns who thought that drinking was cool. Well, I have no morals to share here. To drink or not to drink is just a personal choice.
There were some of my classmates in the same bar. Some were even placed along with me in the same company. They walked up to me and shook hands with me. One guy hugged me and congratulated me for getting placed (which was actually old news). I didn’t like the smell of the cigarette smoke. Apart from that, I was pretty OK with the place.
The place was filled with a thin smoky kind of air with cigarette odour and loud rock music. A few wine glasses were hung upside down near the counter. I could see some popular names like “VAT 69” yon the labels of the bottles arranged neatly behind the bartender. VAT 69 was etched in my memory because another friend of mine had puked out after drinking it in his first year. The TV screens were tuned into MTV.
I must confess that the couches were pretty cosy in that place.Then I looked around if I could actually see the hot girls that this guy had mentioned earlier. My eyes told me that I was seeing either obese ladies who had lost their shape or some skinny women who had too much of lipstick smeared on their lips. I am not saying that I had the right to see “beautiful” women in that place. It’s just that my definition of beauty is a bit different.
A few minutes passed and the lads took some vodka/tequila shots and started chatting up about shitty professors who gave them a hard time way back in first year. Some complained that the place was too expensive these days. Another guy was cribbing that he had to write GRE again. This sober guy was talking to people and discussing who had got 330 plus scores back in college. I realised that bars are one of the few places in this world where one can talk about their woes, disappointments and hopes without any hesitations. It seems to be a refresh button gifted to mankind which few have the courage to press. I also sensed a tinge of hopelessness as well in many faces. But I stopped myself from jumping into judgements which I was not qualified to make.
It was about 10 PM when I felt that I had seen everything that could be seen there. I decided to leave. Even the other sober guy decided to accompany me. All in all, I thought that it was worth visiting a bar as I could personally verify some myths I had heard about the place.