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Published: June 14th 2008
Guys...India! India, India, India, boy when I found out I was going to India it was like a dream come true! Finally all those countless hours in front of the TV watching Bollywood movies, looking for my own romance in this colourful, musical, cultural world they call incredible and I was there to take the ever-precious moment. I felt a close connection to India having deep family roots right in to Lahore Pakistan, India would be my window into south Asia. Now, before going to India I called up my trusted sister who travelled nearby to see some family a couple of years back to get my travel advice. “Whatever you do,” she told me “Don’t drink the water”, fine! Everyone says that about everywhere I go. I got my shots back in London, all will be fine. Yeah right I wish… I didn’t take that chance so I kept it to bottled water to be on the safe side.
As soon as you enter the land of Mumbai a.k.a. Bombay you feel the heat sort of taking over your entire body leaving you with this humid feeling. The sound of India never sleeps…Never! If someone were to ask me, what’s one thing you remember about India? I would have to say… the sounds… whether you’re in a rickshaw that has his horn on 24/7 playing Hindi music or in a luxurious SUV with the ac mixed out telling the rickshaw to move while listening to Hindi music…the sounds just never ends. But I kind of like that about the city, it’s just always buzzing with excitement. After we did what we do everywhere we go, check in that is, I noticed some guys setting up out back for an event, a wedding perhaps? That was exactly it, but I have to tell you this hotel SunNSand must have been special because every night that we were there, there was a wedding. It was quite nice, my bed overlooked the entrance of the hotel and every night I had front row tickets to a live Bollywood show. That reminds me… I must have a horse at my wedding! The food is something I was going to look forward to the most because I have been eating south Asian food since I was a little toddler and I love it. So when I was getting ready to go to India I made myself a list of things I wanted to try while I was there. It was a long list but I have to tell you the food in India kicked ass In every category, whether it was my favourite desserts like glam gamin and barfli or my favourite dinner meal like butter chicken and also prantah, another thing I’ll never forget about India is the food! MMmmmmmmm butter chicken. So the food’s good, the transportation is cheap, and the city is buzzing…. But how’s the nightlife?
I have to say I was impressed. The first night we decided to go out - Luiza, Stepho, Ania and myself decided to go to a Bollywood night at Club Poison. Little did we know local super star celebrity Sunjay Datt was the owner? I was there just minding my own business when suddenly crowds of people started to swarm aroud someone and pictures were flashing like the paparazzi. Being the person I am I jammed my camera out of my pocket and started to head for the action. Who else was it but the owner, guys…? This is someone I have seen in movies over and over and over, so to see him in his club surrounded by women was the perfect Bollywood night. They played classic songs like “o ta mugekooo” a bangra hit and I got to test out my Bollywood moves where it all started. It felt good, that same night we met two guys jazelle and…damit. What was his name? (You see travelling the world and constantly meeting thousands of people takes a toll on remembering names). Always… we met these two really cool guys and ended up going out with them a couple of times during our stay in India.
I don’t know where to start when it comes to India because too much happened. We experienced a massive Smirnoff event that hosted no other than Paul Van Dyke also known in India as PVD. A DJ guru and true master in his field of pumping up the crowd to his own rhythm. The Smirnoff Ten was going to get a chance to meet him and find out a little about what’s going on in the music world. But before that we entered Poison and were blocked by a big queue. Taking us about 20 mins to get to the bar I was overwhelmed with a bill of 1200 rupees for a drink I thought would be cheap, next time get the menu. You guys can relate because when I get to the bar I just want to order my drink, and take a look at the crowd. Jazelle my new trusted friend managed to get a hold of a friend and told him who we were and that’s when he waved us in and took us right in the heart of the action - the VIP Stage. It had much more room to dance and we were facing the crowd, all I needed to do was put my hands up and dance, dance, dance. Unfortunately the clubs end pretty early in India and by 2 am everything is closed apart from the restaurants. I learned that over the duration of two different nights.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed place to chill out you can always go to Chinatown, it’s a little joint that was hot 6 months ago, but like all clubs in India six months is the approximate expiry date. Chinatown spins a combination of R&B and hip-hop and at around midnight they move the centre around to make way for a dance floor. There are a lot of private rooms for you and your friends that over look the club, which is nice. One of the walls is completely filled with Indian candles and ancient artefacts giving it a different taste generally surrounding the place. For more of an upbeat crowd check out Inigma. Inigma is another club I checked out with Jazelle from New Zealand… you know that friend you have at home where you guys just hit clubs sort of like the Night on the Roxbury movie? Well he was my sideman. He showed me the ropes and the cool places to check out and I managed to get him into the PVD party so it was a give and take situation. That ended up being really cool because we got to meet a lot of high profile entertainment players like Michel who is an American living in India dealing with the local media. We also met a couple of socialites and at the end of the night we all went for a late night dinner. I find that when you visited some where whether it’s business or pleasure, if you really want to be absorbed in everything that’s going on, like the people, culture and vibe then you really need to get a grip of the locals. I don’t know what it is but I find that to be really easy, I’m just a people person and I can relate to a lot of the world. That’s something I have been doing in almost every country and it pays off.
The night life in India is constantly buzzing as they say over here, there is just so much going on and change is in the air. Every 6 months a new joint opens up or an old one takes on a new name and different vibe. The people I came across just happen to be big players but they gave me the boost I needed, “there is a lot of change going on in India” Michel told me, “and it’s up to you to either be a part of it, or watch it just change before your eyes”. Everywhere you look the world is concentrated on India and I can’t wait to see what this place looks like in a couple of years from now. I just hope they don’t lose the most important thing I found…the culture and energy.
A little off topic from the whole nightlife buzz…BOLLYWOOD!
The Diageo team had a massive and I mean MASSIVE surprise for us on our last day in India, now I know for the rest of the team it was just seeing something cool like meeting some actresses and actors from Bollywood while being on the set of a big movie, But for me it meant more. So they told us we were going to a Bollywood shoot with some class c and b actors so I didn’t think much of it. I tried and tried to tell them I wanted to meet my one love Rani Mukargee but that wasn’t going to happen. What I didn’t know is that they found some one equally meaningful Kareena Kapoor. Not only did I meet her but we took pictures while my eyes told her “I love you”. We also met Amrita who is a drop dead gorgeous actress and I kind of felt bad because when I was shaking Kareena’s hand I completely forgot about her and she was like “HI I’M AMRITA” oops… something to tell the kids when I'm 40. Seeing people up close that you watch on the TV is a crazy experience, especially Indian movies because they are so focused on love and music and I don’t know I just really get attached to the character. No movie in the world can get to me like a Bollywood film and I guess that’s why I love it so much, just don’t watch too much of it because it might take over your mind.
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