Monday, 21 September 2009
The Pink Flamingo
Ravan and I choke on our beers.
Have we heard right or has Sidekick gone mad? Does Malhotra saab really expect us to chaperone him to a strip-tease club? Malhotra saab -- the dignified, silver-haired patriarch of XYZ Corporation -- in front of whom, we sit on the edge of our seats to show respect lest he should take offence?
Ravan and I are in Dusseldorf for two weeks to participate in a trade-show and we are put up at the ritzy Ramada hotel. After a hard day’s work, we are back in the hotel and unwinding with a beer in the bar, when Sidekick, Malhotra’s Man Friday, successfully seeks us out and puts forward his boss’s request.
“It’s only 7.30 pm,” says Ravan. “I don’t think the night clubs open before 11 pm.”
Sidekick has it all worked out. We will go for a nice vegetarian dinner, he says. Afterwards, we will go clubbing.
Ravan and I look at each other, not much liking the whole idea. We have to be at work at 7.30 am the next day and can quite do without a late night out. But Malhotra saab is a VIP customer and it would be churlish to turn down his request. So we nod glumly at Sidekick and give our assent.
During dinner, Ravan explains the basics to both the guys. There will be a centre stage around which the tables are arranged in multiple tiers. The dancers will come one by one, do their routine and go back. Once we are seated, girls from the bar will come and try to sit beside us. Don’t encourage them. Their only aim is to make you buy champagne which would be exorbitantly priced. Tell them we are only having beer and they will go away. Then we can enjoy our evening in peace.
Malhotra Saab looks convinced. He nods sagely. Only Sidekick looks a bit disappointed.
But the plot runs off the rails at the Pink Flamingo, the club recommended to us by the concierge at the Ramada. The sight of so many scantily-clad women totally unhinges the normally sedate Malhotra saab. Ravan and I have hardly sipped our first beer when we see our customer with girls wrapped around him on both sides and grinning like an idiot. “What is your names, baby?” asks our Don Juan in his rustic, Punjabi accent. The girls giggle and ask for champagne.
Ravan tries to signal a warning. B-E-E-R, he mouths wordlessly, with not much hope.
“Kya pharak padta hai, yaar? Champagne order karo na!” says the Casanova, who has his hands full by now.
Frankly, I do not remember much about the rest of the night and I’m sure the same applies to Ravan as well. I have a faint recollection of dropping Malhotra saab and Sidekick off at their hotel and reaching the Ramada, well past 2 am.
What I do remember vividly is the attending the briefing session the next day at 7.30 am nursing the mother of all hangovers and not registering a word of what was being said.
Image Courtesy: www.iteamz.com