Padraic in Puri

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November 17th 2010
Published: November 17th 2010
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It was Padraic's first full day in Puri. He slept in late, ate some Masala Dosa for brunch, and then wandered up the main drag by the beach. Padraic noticed two middle-aged men smoking a chillum near a bicycle rickshaw.

The previous night, he’d spoken to the hotel manager after checking in.

Hotel manager: Do you smoke anything?
Padraic: Beedis, sometimes…. And occasionally charras.
Hotel manager: There are people who will want to smoke with you. They will seem very friendly. They will put things in their chillums…. If you smoke with them, they will take everything from you.

One of the men motioned for Padraic to sit with them. Padraic obliged. He thought to himself I’ll just take a few pulls, and if it is drugged (with anything beside weed), I can probably handle it. The men asked Padraic in English where he was from. He responded in Bengali. Padraic was wearing his India uniform: headscarf, lungi and beard. The older of the two men was slightly afraid of him after hearing the Bengali. The other one smiled and offered to take him on a ride later in the day. Padraic’s Bengali is not good, but he understood the man wanted to take him to a Shiva temple and smoke some more grass.

Padraic went back to his hotel and readied himself for a ganja-smoking escapade with persons unknown. In India, the way to do this is :
1) Dress like a local.
2) Bring your own stash
3) Don’t carry more than thirty rupees.

Padraic met his new friend and they went off through the center of town. They picked up an older fellow, who was to be called amra mama - “our uncle”. Within the space of five minutes, “Uncle” consumed tobacco, paan (betel nut), grass, and what appeared to be opium powder. He was very friendly.

After twenty minutes on a bike, they came to a small temple (about the same height as Padraic) near a garbage dump on the edge of town. Padraic and Uncle went down the road to buy some cigarettes for mixing tobacco. There was a group of eight men at the Temple for Devout and Small Monkeys. Padraic dismounted, said his greetings, and was promptly offered heroin.

(In Bengali) “No, I don’t want this. Let’s smoke some hash. I have.”

One young man was very angry and threatening upon Padraic’s non-purchase of white powder. However, the man in charge was relaxed. Padraic supplied his hash and watched carefully as they prepared the chillum. Then they smoked.

When they left, Padraic's rickshaw-driving friend seemed a bit disappointed, so Padraic bought tea, snacks, and beedis for Uncle, Friend, and himself. Then they went to a government Bhang Shop, sat on the floor, and got even higher. At the end, the owner offered Padraic some hash to buy. However, Padraic only had four rupees left. The rickshaw man got no commission that day. His pockets were empty, but his belly and lungs were sated.


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