Another "startlement" from Tom, as he spends a few more days in Mumbai. . .
On Sunday, I went to the mall to buy a nail clipper (which I didn't bring because I'd assumed they were still not allowed). I found the item at a small store in the mall, busy with weekend throngs hanging out. I suddenly heard a voice which didn't fit, asking the shopkeeper, "Where can I find a pub?"
I turned to see someone who looked like John Goodman as he looked in The Big Lebowski: heavy build, shorts, bandana wrapped around his forehead, dark glasses, sweaty shirt. He'd clearly been walking around in the hot and had come looking for refreshment.
He told the shopkeeper, "I'm looking for a pub. A bar. I just want a beer. Downstairs they told me to go up. Up here they tell me to go down. . . "
The shopkeeper looked confused.
I jumped in, "I'm not sure there is a pub in this mall. It's not like the US. There is a social stigma associated with drinking here."
He looked stunned. "With beer?" he asked.
"Yes." I told him. "There is a bar in the hotel down the street." I gave him directions, but warned, "it's not always open. It opens for just a few hours every day."
"It's not like the US," I repeated.
He said he was a merchant marine and had come ashore to look around. He told me he'd just been to Bahrain on his journey, and there was plenty of beer and prostitutes and everything there. He thought he'd find the same in Mumbai. . .
I wished him luck and we parted. Not sure if he ever found a beer, though!
(Note from Kym: When Tom returns home, he complains most about the mosquitos, the lack of fresh water, and . . . beer! There is beer in India. It's just . . . very "lite." And not always available.)