Colourful Life in the “Dark” Night

As the shadows of evening lengthen, life in the bustling Indian metros, takes on a different hue. After a hard day’s work it’s time for recreation. While ordinary folks go home, the yuppies and affluent head for numerous pubs, discos, nightclubs and resto-bars to unwind.  As the evening crawls, the guests eat and drink besides shaking a leg or two.

In the wake of globalization the cabaret bars which were highly popular once have passed into oblivion. Night clubs have replaced them.

Consider this: A dimly- lit hall, with a regular sitting area. A bar stands prominently with its paraphernalia, a stage dotted with musical and electronic equipment, a bunch of musicians. Colourful lights flash on and off the smooth, glistening dance floor. Revolving doors open to admit guests – scantily clad youngsters, couples of diverse age groups,  snazzily dressed corpulent men, voluptuous women in body hugging attires with garish makeup- pile onto the dance floor. The DJs or bands belt out music- sometimes raucous, blaring; alternatively soft and sensuous; bodies begin to swish swash in harmony with the music. Isolated figures sit on high bar stools, drinking; some dine at the tables, while others slouch over bubbling hookahs in corners.

Indian nightlife varies from one metro to another depending on the local demands and prevailing social milieu. While Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai have more of middle mainstream pubs with mixed crowds, Kolkata abounds in male-only pubs, besides a few trendy clubs in posh hotels. Women crowd is fairly low-key.

At first glance, it appears rather innocuous; people chilling out, and having fun.  Unfortunately there is a seamier side to this.  The glitz and dazzling scenes conceal a dark sinister world of sleaze, lust, passion and illegal practices galore. Mumbai’s dance bars (now shut down by law), were an integral part of the city’s nightlife. They were venues of liaisons, conspiracies,  supari for a kill and what have you!

Ronny D’souza a Mumbai resident, shares his experience of night clubs, “Most night clubs are frequented by street-walkers, in search of customers. Once a deal is fixed, the women accompany the clients into their rooms (if they are hotel guests) or to a fixed destination.”

Sonia Dutt who regularly visits discos in Delhi quips, “It is commonplace to find amorous couples lurking in the shadows, savoring their privacy.”

In Mumbai’s Dance bars, women clad in see-through saris / ghagra choli   gyrate in step with the raunchy music on the dance floor, at the centre of the hall. Pintu Gupta, who visits dance bars, observes,” I have often seen raunchy women parking themselves on pot-bellied tycoons, who seemingly enjoy the intimacy…… if satisfied, customers often lunge forward and shove currency bills  into the blouses or tops these women are wearing.”

Though opulent people are drawn into the vortex of nightlife in quest of carnal pleasures, yet many others throng these places simply to while away the night. All said and done, nightclubs are here  to stay.