The other day Amrit took off to Delhi to see his fiancé (due to be married in October, she is a well known Indian actress and he is absolutely besotted with her) so his brother Arjun came to the ashram to keep an eye on things.
Very hospitable, I think Arjun is perhaps a bit of a lonely soul and absolutely basks in attention. At first I found him really nice. He was very intrigued by us and asked lots of questions. Then he got a tad cocky.
He talked about how fantastic he was. Told us to call him “Dr Raj”. He talked about being a party boy, whether I wanted hash (I politely declined) and told us of the family’s flash apartment a mere 100m away. He was disbelieving that Amrit had not even told us about it, let alone taken us there. He invited Eva and I to go there after dinner to have a beer, “But shhhhh, you can’t tell Amrit we are having alcohol.”
Before we left Eva rung her husband to tell him of our plans and location and what time to expect us back. Although Arjun seemed completely trustworthy, we were taking no chances, especially at night. Then off we set.
When he said 100m away, he wasn’t exaggerating. It was unbelievable, a world away from the India up the driveway. I could’ve been in a flash New Zealand apartment complex. There was a magnificent swimming pool, an outdoor area to relax and recline in and a restaurant boasting foods of a multitude of different countries.
We proceeded up the lift to the apartment the Raj family own and Arjun gave us each a beer. Usually I am not a beer drinker, but I made an exception. And I’m glad I did; it was crisp, cold and it took the edge off. And by Christ, these were decent hefty bottles!
I don’t know if you’ve ever had a 90kg slightly sloshed Indian man give you his drunken takings on Hindu boys, white females, sex, money and marriage, but I can tell you it elicits an array of alternative reactions on your part. There was amusement, slight distaste and a period of feeling a wee bit uncomfortable.
He explained the reason Hindu boys always want photos of me is because they associate me with sex. They see white women in the flesh very rarely; usually they only encounter them through the medium of a screen. Therefore, when they see me they see a living fantasy. I found this quite disturbing and now whenever I see young men staring all I can invision is them gizzing in their pants. Not pleasant.
We moved on from this topic (thank The Lord) to that of money. Arjun made sure to flash his wallet about so Eva and I could clearly see the thick wads of cash residing inside. It was quite vulgar.
We were about halfway through our bottles when Arjun announced, “I need to piss”. He stumbled off to the toilet and we could hear him vomiting profusely. I quieted my eyebrow at Eva; was he hammered?
When he returned after a brief spiel about how how his father is actually a sexologist as well as an Ayrvedic doctor, he declared, “I’m drunk”. I was flabbergasted. I thought I was a light weight, yet I had a mere warming sensation in my toes. It was crazy! He was burping and slurring a little, and Eva and I decided to make tracks.
Turning down his offer to drive us, the in-house priest appeared and gestured to go back on the scooter with him. The short trip was hilarious, avoiding the many potholes and manouvering the tight turns.
I’m glad we went; it was fun and a different experience. It was interesting to compare the company of the obnoxious 28-year-old doctor with big pockets to that of the modest worker men with empty ones.
Since then, he has been nothing but pleasant. Perhaps a little always in your space and face, but pleasant none the less. The invitations of a repeat drink keep coming but I think I’ll pass. Unless maybe he has OJ.