All I needed was a drink…
To recap, 17 year old girl (a.k.a. me) moves to Pune from 5,000 miles away to meet an unanticipated and unwelcome new friend – culture-shock. 5,000 tears, a slightly forced Indian accent and a wardrobe change later I finally felt a little less out of place. I had made three new friends that I will forever be thankful for. It was time to explore…
I decided to not be stereotypical by going to historic and heritage sites – okay, honestly, I wanted to, but nobody wanted to go with me. So I started off where any sane person would – food. Firstly, I could not get over the fact that McDonald’s in India served vegetarian burgers! You go try asking for that abroad and you’ll be handed an empty bun – a slice of cheese and a piece of lettuce if you’re lucky. Besides my unhealthy addiction to McDonald’s, there were just so many friggin’ options to pick from! Mostly I binged on vada pavs and samosas that literally made steam come out of my ears because my threshold for spicy food was negative. Mouth was forever on fire, mind was blown and seven kgs were gained.
Now, thanks to Ekta Kapoor and Karan Johar, I knew nothing about the real India. I genuinely believed that married women wore saris in the house, and drinking, partying and dating was still a big taboo. You can imagine my mixture of emotions when a friend casually suggested getting out for a drink. At first I couldn’t contain my excitement that people here were not so different after-all! Then I was pissed. For all these years back home, I had to beg my way to each and every party, sleepover and late night dinner – because “Indian kids don’t drink and party” – while you guys were partying it up over here!
Pubs were great, but unfortunately my first clubbing experience was at Jazz By The Bay. All that weird dancing and the sweaty crowd pushing from all directions was enough to make me swear off partying. I eventually discovered High Spirits though, and thankfully turned out okay.
Discovering Pune’s drinking and partying culture was literally the turning point, because that’s when my perception began to change. I started to realise that all youngsters everywhere just want to have some fun! So maybe all I really needed was a drink…
PS: On a less happy note, I could not find myself a damn library and still haven’t, but I make do with buying books from the stalls in camp. Nevertheless, someone really should open one.
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