As the clerk of the next-door grocery shop commented the other day, many of the girls from the hostel have by now left for summer break, some replaced by largely unknown newcomers and some to return in June or July when classes recommence. In the meantime, we’ll be maintaining a small but solid group of three: Ritika (who dates back to the Holi celebration), my roommate Sumedha, and myself. Alas, we had no choice but to see off the last of the former group, Akhila, as she flew back to Bombay on Monday – but not without a three-day sendoff bash.
In Chennai, “ladies night” is seemingly ubiquitous. Pick a night of the week, and you’ll likely be able to find several bars, clubs, lounges, or restaurants offering free entry and free drinks for women. The free entry, of course, is not out of the norm, as cover fees are (so I hear) pretty much nonexistent for we feminine folk. Next along the line of cover charges are couples, trailed by stags, who often seem to either pay rather exorbitant entrance fees or be denied entirely unless accompanied by a female or, in some cases, a couple. Quite the “clubbing” culture, eh?
Akhila’s sendoff weekend began at the nearby Park hotel, where we’d earlier discovered a worthy sushi platter at 601, the house restaurant whose falafel has since won my lasting appreciation. Across the lobby, we raised our glasses to the start of the weekend in Leather Bar on Friday night. Soon joined by Sumedha, we wandered across the parking lot to Pasha’s to fulfill the girls’ entreaty for dancing before heading back to the hostel. Note: Chennai pretty much closes down by 11pm. Sad but true.
Snacking, sleeping, lunching, chatting, then ultimately to Blend to meet up with other friends on Saturday. Snacking, sleeping, lunching, chatting, and a few whirlwind errands, then it was off to 10 Downing Street for “Bollywood Night” and a midnight birthday dinner/celebration on Sunday. I tell ya, it’s not every day you sit at a table of 8, all donned in bright pink paper Barbie caps (men and women alike, Ritika-ordained), passing around chicken and birthday cake before breaking into a cappella Bollywood songs, rounded off by "Leaving on a Jet Plane."
And really, who doesn’t enjoy ending an evening with a cup of chai, masala khakra, and a bit of roof climbing? We certainly do.