Getting Picked Up

To understand this piece, you need to be clued into what is happening these days in Mumbai. In case you are unaware, please read these 3 newspaper reports online from India Today, NDTV and Mumbai Mirror.

Last Thursday, needing to unwind after a busy day, I went to Upper Parel, to the new buzzing Mahavir Bar.

It was “Men’s Day” – women have to pay and men are allowed free entry provided they are with one or more women. My wife and two of her girlfriends joined me.

It was fun. The drinks were not too expensive and though the place was packed and standing room only, we managed to get a table later for dinner. A couple of Lagavulin’s down, I was warm and mellow and the conversation turned gossipy interesting as we started trashing old batch mates from college.

Around midnight, my wife, who is a doctor, had an emergency call. Being my designated driver, she had abstained from drinking and was able to leave by herself. One of her friends promised to drop me home.

About 15 minutes after she left, the air changed palpably. People started getting up and leaving, the music was turned down and I could see some men taking pictures. Words like, “cops”, “D’Souza”, “raid” could be heard. Suddenly, two men came up to me, taking positions on either side and asked, “dhandha karta hai kya”.  I thought they were addressing my friends and I was all ready to start exhibiting my mardangi, when they looked at me and asked again “bolo, dhanda karta hai kya. Kitna milta hai.” I was stunned. I looked around and found similar things happening at other tables.

I quickly realized what was going on, but couldn’t control myself and started laughing. The men, who I assumed were plain clothes-men, didn’t seem amused, so I told them, “rate secret hai”. The guys said, “kitna, teen hazaar?” I said, “main itna sasta lagta hoon? Ek lakh minimum”. Now it was their turn to be stunned. They looked at each other and in sync lifted me by my arms and took me to a van parked outside.

I was now a bit worried. The looks of incredulousness on my friends’ faces had given way to alarm as I was led away. They ran after me, but they couldn’t get near. In the meantime, a journalist from the Mirror managed to take a picture of me in the van.

I started chatting with the men who had “captured” me. They were part of a new social wing and their job was to go into lounge bars and monitor them from a moral perspective – “theirs” and “D’Souza’s”. I tried to tell them that I had been kidding, but they were convinced that if there was no cover charge for men and if there were many women and a few men, it had to be that the men were soliciting.

I told them who I was, that I was married, that I had a child and a corporate job. It didn’t cut any ice. I had to spend the night at the “Nehru Home for Wayward Men” in the company of some equally bemused and upset men who had been similarly picked up. The next morning, my wife and friends found me, did the necessary paperwork and got me home.

Unfortunately, the story made the front-page with my photograph. Who knew that my 15-seconds of fame would be as the “Upper Parel Gigolo”. A part of me keeps grinning at the irony but another part is aghast…and my wife is clearly not amused. I have already moved the High Court to get my name cleared.

Aah…the price we pay when morality is interpreted and perceived differently by different people!


  • Nitin Tamhane wrote:

    I am little confused .is it your own experience? If it is
    Bhavin ,you are fortunate to be up and writing this piece because Anamika is still fighting her case

    The problem is “Mumbai” does not like what “Bombay” does .

    Ask any Ghati!

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    It’s a satire.

  • That was funny…….LOL

  • sriganesh wrote:

    You should have told them your name is Vasanth and father’s name is Ramrao. Anyway, I know whom to contact if I have to go to the new and upcoming Shantisagar and Buddha Bars in Lokhandwala Complex with all the women at Vasu’s Office.

  • jamnav wrote:

    Did tis really happened? I was disturbed. I am with the children but seeing your comumn here. Love Jamna aunty

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Stuff happened as in the newspaper links. The rest is a satire

  • H.L. Chulani wrote:

    Don’t be surprised if you do get picked up- Dhoble ‘uncle’ is not far away!

  • Khushboo wrote:

    Nice..! A ‘cold war’ write up!
    This ‘D’ Problem needs to be solved.. He’s ruining Mumbai.

  • Armaity Surendra Patel wrote:

    This sort of thing is becoming a bit too stuffy. What about us, Sr. Citizens, who may also frequent a bar or two to celebrate or take our guests???? It is good that moral poicing is practiced, but not with adults. It should be where teens or school going children are seen flocking.

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    But imagine, Armaity, what would happen if senior citizens were taken to remand homes.

  • Prakash wrote:

    This is RR’s way of imposing prohibition in Mumbai. I’m sure some pub in Mumbai threw him out just as a barb bala is likely to have slapped him Its his idea of payback

  • Nice… Moral policing is exactly what we need our cops to focus on. Cos you know issues like terrorism, begging mafia, extortion, -scam are not nearly as important as trying to set the citizens’ moral compass straight using their own twisted, ancient POV as reference.

    What right do we have to criticise regions like the middle east, afghanistan and their policies?

  • Jayesh Desai wrote:

    nice one, why not one on permit to drink? when I think of that one I understand the full meaning of surreal and Kafkaesque. What a law! A doctor would be sued, vilified and crucified for administering expiry dated medicine(rightly) but nothing happens to Police lawyers and judges for applying century old outdated laws and using them to harass hapless citizens.

  • surendra shetty wrote:

    Dhoble only raids classy, trendy pubs and bars.he wears blinkers like a horse looking straight ahead, what about the countless so called orchestra bars where, ” decent” ladies stand so close to you that you can whisper in their ears, will Dhoble weild his new “shastra” the hockey stick on the local police station for making a mockery of RRP’S policy

  • Horrible experience. Cops don’t understand jokes.

  • Wish the real culprits are picked up in the all the crimes all over the country.We fought for independence from the English 65 yrs ago.Looks like we will have to fight for it from our own countrymen now.God Help Us.

  • shaukat wrote:

    hee hee,thanx buddy. Topic had much more potential sp.from you.

  • shaukat wrote:

    The reactions from your fans are more hilarious!!!!

  • Prabha Vinay wrote:

    I am very happy that you’ve picked up this subject! It really seems that things are being exaggerated a lot! Just having a party with friends could mean to land you in serious trouble with the risk of your names getting tarnished!! Whats happening around?

    Can we have a real solution for this problem?!!

  • […] am touched by all the SMSes, emails, FB mes­sages and blog com­ments express­ing con­cern over last week’s inci­dent. But really, there is no Mahavir bar (no not even for Jains) and Upper Parel does not exist […]

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