Saturday, 13 December 2008

Bangalore Boys

I've just spent two nights in Bangalore, sampling the social and cultural highlights of India's first silicon city. It's a bit like an overpopulated Milton Keynes in a heat wave, except with rickshaws instead of Ford Fiestas. There is just so much here to excite the senses; the bright lights of McDonalds, the toxic clouds of black diesel and the scent of sweetly steaming turd on tarmac. But for me, the best thing is the men.

Like most Indian cities, the ladies stay indoors sweeping and looking after the kids, while their sons and husbands hang about on street corners holding hands, staring at slutty gap year students, spitting phlegm and wearing t-shirts with slogans like 'Sex Machine' and 'Rock God'. False advertising or a message from heaven? I decided to take to the streets to find the best date in Bangalore.

Shopping is undoubtedly one of Bangalore's favourite pastimes. From Gucci to Louis Vuitton, D&G to Abecrombie & Fitch – every must-have fashion item is there for the taking. I hooked up with a style savvy IT consultant called Deepak who promised to take me to the Bangalore equivalent of Bloomingdales for the ultimate consumer experience. I wasn't disappointed. It turned out that his dad owned an exclusive city boutique. When we arrived it wasn't like any boutique I had ever seen before. Deepak and I exchanged a few flirtatious one-liners over brass statuettes of the god Ganesh and plastic trays of bejeweled Bindis. There was no way I was going home empty handed! We chose matching pastel coloured mesh caps with sequins. But I'm no material girl – and I need more than flashy fashion items and smooth talk to keep me interested.

Undeterred, I strolled towards Bangalore's famous Barton Centre – a thriving hotspot for the city's college hipsters, aspiring socialites and the Bollywood stars of tomorrow. Through plastic palm trees I immediately locked eyes with a striking young Bangalorian by the name of Raj. I asked him what he did for a living and from behind mirrored aviators he replied humbly, 'I am a professional dancer and a struggling model.' I tried to hide my excitement as he took my digits and suggested we meet later that night at the underground dance club 'Kosmos'. He informed me that since last year dancing has been banned in Bangalore – but this only added to the thrill. I had a good feeling about Raj.

Chatting up boys is thirsty work. In need of some liquid refreshment I headed to Coffee Day, the Bangalorian equivalent of Starbucks, where their T shirts tell me they are 'Nuts about Coffee'. It wasn't long before I was approached by a distinguished-looking Indian gentleman with a long tendril of snow white hair, going by the name of Krishna. He wasn't my usual type, but as my grandmother always said: 'don't judge a book by it's cover' (or an elderly man by his white toga). He treated me to a cappuccino and impressed me with his extensive network of friends from the United States, Thailand, East Croydon, Stoke on Trent and the Middle East. Despite his authentic appearance and sophisticated good looks, something told me that this silver fox had a silver tongue to match. It was definitely time to make my excuses – but not before he jotted my email address down in his BlackBerry and made me promise to stay with at his farm in Bijaipur if I was ever in the neighbourhood.

With three guys on the backburner I was keeping my options open and was just about to head back to the Komfort Terraces Hotel when I bumped into a suave entrepreneur by the name of Govinda. There was something subtle and mysterious about him that caught my eye. I told him I liked his style. He seemed to be playing hard to get. But I'm not one for mind games, so with a flick of my hair I disappeared into the steamy Bangalore night for some dinner.

Following a hot tip from a friend I headed for Bangalore's premier pizza joint for a slice of the local action. Blushing under the bright fluorescent lights, I gave my order to a shy guy in blue baseball cap and tight fitting T. After a medium cheese burst pizza I plucked up the courage to invite this mystery guy in blue over to my table to share the last of my Coca-Cola. We talked thin crust versus thick, but the chemistry just wasn't there. Hiding my disappointment with a smile I hotfooted it back to my room to freshen up.

Not five minutes later I received the text message I'd been waiting for from Raj, telling me to get my dancing shoes on and to meet him at Kosmos at ten. My night was looking up! As I entered the club, I was grateful that the banging bangra house music could hide the beating of my heart. I spotted him across the dance floor in matching leather cap and jacket. I'd never seen a man's feet move so fast until that night. He bought me a cocktail and put his tongue in my ear. I think I'm in love with Bangalore.



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