Every cis-het man in this country – admit it or not – has the same teenage fantasy – to relive the plot of The hangover and have the Las Vegas experience. Sadly, while the protagonists of this particular movie couldn’t remember a single moment of their Las Vegas antics, our casino experience in Goa will forever be etched in our minds.
Leaving aside other susegad-appropriate activities like lounging on the beach or collecting raindrops on the collarbone, a group of us ended up on one of those floating craft that promised the Las Vegas experience.
When we called to reserve our seats, the casino call center staff listed extremely specific tailoring instructions, as if we were being invited to join the Kingsman or a no-name but super-exclusive fancy club.
No open shoes. No beachwear. No pretending to be James Bond and ordering a martini. Unfortunately it was less Casino Royale, and more than can only be described as the microcosm of the worst things Indians have to experience on a daily basis.
Dante’s version of hell, if you will, if Dante were desire
Even getting to the casino was a difficult task, as many of us were crammed onto a dodgy-looking ferry – which would have been rejected by white refugees trying to flee their homeland – onto a huge floating craft.
First of all, once you get there, every hesitant from the trip, you are greeted with gigantic lines to collect or even buy the chips, lines that are longer than some of the lines observed during demonetization. And this time, no one remotely pretended that standing in line was a patriotic activity of any kind.
After picking up our chips, we were forced to navigate crowds that made Kurla Station during rush hour seem isolated.
Once inside, we realized that the long lines at the fries counter weren’t an aberration, but the norm.
There were winding lines for everything – buying chips, getting a drink, finding a table, playing blackjack and even when you wanted to make a Chinese man sing.
Seeing that it was impossible to move, let alone play while packed like sardines, we decided to go for a meal where he found a setting that could easily be the main attraction of the Museum of Gustatory Aberrations in the Generic North Indian Wedding section.
There were all the usual staples. Paneer in a Trumpian shade of orange who has not yet chosen his preferred pronoun among shahi, butter, lababdar or pasanda.
The rotis they were rigid enough to bend like bulletproof vests. There were mounds of sugar disguised as candy so poorly made that even diabetics would take a break.
It wasn’t just the food reminiscent of a North Indian wedding. There were drunk uncles laughing with lewd jokes while grannies tried to treat their grandchildren like their sons and daughters. bahu shot and danced to a loud band.
Fed up with the desi version ofThe last supper, we moved into the game room where we reconnected with another ancient Indian tradition – drinking like a fish whose girlfriend left him. Anyone who has flown abroad knows that an Indian will never say no to a free drink.
Many moons ago, when you saw Casino Royale dubbed in Hindi, Bond’s seminal drink order: “A Martini. Shaken, not stirred” has been translated to “Ek Martini. Milkar Nahi. Hilakar.”
Here the Joins didn’t care anymore if it was hilakar or milacar as they tried to make up for the night’s losses – one drink at a time.
Finally, realizing that eating or drinking was out of the question, we headed back to the game room. But again it turned out to be a procession of endless lines and closed machines.
Completely fed up with the experience, we decided to leave, but even that is just as complicated as leaving Ukraine. Turns out you can’t just leave, but you have to wait for a ferry to pick you up, which finally happened after an excruciating 30 minutes.
So, do yourself a favor. Rest on the beach. Drink a few beers or whatever you want.
Go pose as Aamir Khan and company on Dil Chahata Hai strong. But just don’t channel your inner Shakuni because your fate will be worse than Yudhisthir’s.
The opinions expressed are those of the author himself.