I am here because some part of me wants to compete with them. The other part of me knows I can, but questions the purpose of this wanton wallet weighing. It's such an enticing scam. The bar man somehow keeps a straight face as he spits out drink prices. 500 Rupees for a large Old Monk and coke. I don't know who these elderly priests are but they must be their pulpits sniggering away at the 2000% mark up. 500 Rupees for a disgraceful little Budweiser. A 330ml bottle of fizzy American mediocrity. 750 Rupees for a Mojito for girl who's attention must be bought. Some part of me probably wants it.
The dilemma is to spend or not to spend? To spend and achieve what? To not spend at what cost?
I didn't come alone though. I'm here with friends and acquaintances. After a while the urban royalty, whose company I share, decide we've been there long enough. This is the 3rd watering hole I've been swept along to, tonight. The Alpha males bring their Camry's and Civic's and 5 Series' round the front and whisk us off to a house where this most exclusive evening shall continue.
I'll never forget that house. That flat. Floors of marble, suede sofas and the works of Mr Bang and Mr Olufsen proudly displayed next to each power socket. Towering speakers rise from the floor like stalagmites of crystal sound. The terrace overlooks a city asleep. We disturb the slumber of the silent, purple night sky with fake laughter, electronic music and the sound of Whiskey hitting the rocks. There's enough Whiskey to sink a ship, in the black marble top bar. There's a MacBook Pro on the ledge, observing us (with some curiosity, I imagine).
I don't want to drink, just watch these people. I am angry at myself when I catch myself thinking "this is how the other half live". Where did that come from? Banish it.
Maybe talking to someone will bring me some comfort.
"Hey man, nice music. Do you like psytrance too?"
"GMS played at my house"
He didn't mean it in an arrogant way- his face was honest and friendly. I just found his though process interesting.
I seek refuge with the smokers. They talk about normal things. As long as you can bear the smoke, they are always good for a chat. We talk of football, university and Goa. I pretend to know something about motorbikes. They pretend not to judge me when I say I like jazz music.
If I wanted it to, this could be me. I could ask for more money than I need and spend it on things that I don't. Yes, I could lay a claim to this life. "But what would it achieve?", I argue back, as I begin the slow auto ride home. I can see the lights of the penthouse fading, obscured by trees and my foggy contact lenses. This was an education.
Trying to compete is futile. This house, these people, this evening.....this is not me.