madam sharaabi

Jo’s recent post ‘sharaabi ka naam, sharaabi ka baap ka naam‘ reminded me of a recent stop-over at an adda on the Bangalore-Mysore Road.

We were coming back from Gangavathi Taluk, and a car ride of about 7 hours does need atleast one pee stop despite all withdrawal of water intake.

Our driver, Nagraj, has been with us on almost all our travels in the last 2 months. And he’s also become an expert at guiding us to pee-stops. Including once when we had to find a field, and once on the way to the God-forsaken Bengalaru airport, I had to make do with a construction site.

But this time, he seemed oblivious of our discomfort, speeding along on the highway, revving the car to 120 kms per hour.

Then we passed what looked like a garden restaurant. “We could have gone there”, I grumpily complained. He slowed down, backed carefully and drove in to the side of the road, outside the restaurant. I rushed towards the gate, my other 2 female colleagues following with a little more dignity.

A manager kind of person rushed towards me with as much alacrity, before I could cross the entrance. “What do you want, what do you want?” I said, “Tea, coffee?” He said, waving his hands for emphasis, “No, no, no tea, coffee here. Go next door.” I looked around.

This was a large garden bar. Surrounded by a row of small, dark cubicles on 2 sides, with dirty, flimsy curtains half drawn, dim naked bulbs hanging over each table, filled up with groups of men, engaged in the serious business of drinking. At the entrance, there was a small liquor shop, almost only a counter, surrounded by a mob of men, buying bottles, or tetra-packs of liquor, or just glasses of the stuff and quaffing them standing, one glass down and then yet another.

I said, “Is there at least a toilet?” For some strange reason, in that all-male bastion, there was a ladies toilet. There was no visible light switch, but I managed to find the toilet in the twilight. My two colleagues had caught up with me. The manager kind of person came after we had almost finished to show us the light switch behind the door. We were better off without the lights on, is all I can say.

We ambled out at a more relaxed pace towards the tea stall outside. The dustbin on the road was overflowing with ‘old blue’ tetrapacks.We turned around when we found a tall, dark shadow hovering 6 inches behind us, to find that one of my colleagues, a young and very beautiful woman, had lured a sharaabi to follow her and have tea instead of likker.

While we had our tea, the others told me that our driver Nagraj was most amused at my stopping at the bar. “Madam’s favorite place,” he was supposed to have said, and laughed most delightedly. He did repeat the joke a couple of times before we reached Bangalore. “Madam said ‘stop here, stop here’, Madam’s favourite place.”

27 comments

  1. I might need to borrow your Nagraj when I come to India in Feb/March!πŸ˜€

    My favorite road-trip pee story from India is having to stop at a, er, “rustic,” we’ll call it, roadside eatery somewhere in Gujarat that did have toilets but only waaaaaaay at the back of the grassy property and with only three (admittedly brick) walls. We 12 ladies formed a protective barrier with our backs to the open side, as far away from the loo as possible to give the user a shred of privacy but close enough to be an effective fourth wall, as each took her turn. Teamwork!

  2. I was waiting for the chai and standing between the Sharabi and Nagraj when the latter cracked the joke about Bari Madam’s favorite place. It took me few seconds to start laughing since I was hesitating whether I should betray Bari Madam’s aura of authority or rather not laugh and make Nagaraj loose his face in front of the Sharabi. I sided with Nagaraj out of a weird sens of solidarity (Nagaraj and me against the Sharabi whose presence were making me feel uncomfortable).
    I laughed and felt awkward. I found it much funnier when I repeated the joke to Bari Madam and to the Trouble Maker.

    • Cantlaughgirl, I forgot about the ‘Bari Madam’ business. Said like that, it’s even funnier, isn’t it?

      Ha, that Sharabi was weird. Though I am sure he was too busy ogling you, to register any jokes about ‘Bari Madam’.:)

  3. I’m thinking dark thoughts of an erstwhile friend who made up this story of some deadly arthropod grabbing a girl as she peed in some rustic hole in the ground once-upon-a-picnic.
    It is the No. 1 unwritten rule in our house to avoid switching on the lights for midnight bathroom trips.
    But a ladies’ room in what appeared to be a bar rife with males? Nashe mein thoughtfulness? Hmmm.
    Phir bhi madam, you must be discerning in your choice of `watering holes.’

    • Desi-at-large, no, no, you cannot be discerning in your choice of ‘pee-holes’. As it is, virtually none exist. You have to take your toilets where and how they come.

  4. Not having immediate access to a loo sends my poor bladder into overdrive, even if I abstain from coffee, tea and water:( Long drives are interrupted by slightly desperate pee-stops. My favourite place, I guess

  5. ROTFL at Madam’s favourite place!
    BTW, weren’t there any bushes? But on the other hand, I can imagine, bushes don’t offer enough privacy, if there are people around!
    What you need is a lady driver, then you can do with plastic bottles!πŸ˜‰

      • I’m reminded of the scene in `Mela’ with Aamir in the truck, having `gone,’ and Johny Lever playing the nosey policeman.

          • You do know that this is the Twinkle-debut Mela, not the old one.
            My daughter would’ve remembered better, but here goes: Aamir is with this other hulk that’s driving the truck and (Aamir) has to pee. The hulk will not pull over. So Aamir goes – all we see are two bottles (soda bottles?) Then Johnny Lever is a cop and he stops their vehicle and inspects. Sees these two bottles and does a `taste’ test.
            Harvey and Banno, believe me, after a distressing start to the movie, there is a longish comic interlude, which is paisa wasool. My mother then heartlessly insisted on changing channels, so we didn’t get to watch the rest of the movie. There was also a daiya-ye-main-kahan-aa-phansi kind of song at one point, but of course, the Caravan song was already taken.

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