I was young once and in that long-lost time, there were things we knew as raves. A real rave was usually associated with a dingy-ish location that has no seating area and lots of space for intoxicated people to do intoxicated things. There had to be electronic dance music; bass that’s so loud that it feels like you have a thousand hearts popping up all over your body and all of them are pounding. This sounds a little bit like that party scene from Matrix Reloaded, doesn’t it? It was also sweaty, chaotic and filled with pretty horrible dancers because seriously, while Indians are blessed with the embarrassing dancing gene, cool moves are not our thing. Soon enough someone would puke. Something would spill. Not precisely pretty, I imagine. The only rave I’ve ever been to was in Goa, and that was beautiful, if you ignored all the people and just looked at the nature all around you.
The police don’t like raves because it is at raves that narcotics are believed to be distributed like it’s Christmas. It’s probably not entirely untrue. I know someone who didn’t do any drugs but went to raves to dance (great abs on that boy) and I know of more than one person whose primary reason to attend raves is to turn into a human cocktail shaker of hallucinogens.
So far, so groovy.
On Sunday night, the Mumbai police announced that they had busted a rave, thus beginning the latest WTF episode to be enacted in Mumbai. About 100 people, including a couple of cricketers, were reportedly arrested and the police said they recovered about 110gm of cocaine and ecstasy pills. Here, it seemed, was an example of the moral turpitude of new India.
Except, a party with a DJ doth not a rave make. The police stormed into Azok, which is a swanky restaurant started by a Michelin-starred chef where a meal for two (without alcohol) cost about Rs. 4,300 when it opened two years ago. That’s in the range of $80 and translates to a very expensive meal in Mumbai. It’s probably more now. This is way too posh a place for a rave, which is characterised by an unholy mess by the end of the night. Also, back in our days of youth, where a rave was going to happen was circulated by word of mouth. Not quite the same thing as the DJs, Designer Hippies, announcing they’re going to do a live set at Azok on their entirely public Facebook page. While I’m sure information is circulated in a more tech-savvy manner nowadays and perhaps Facebook is the medium, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that our depraved youth isn’t idiotic enough to make so public an announcement. If they are, then, well, they’ve met their match in the police.
It turns out that the police decided that the Azok event was going to be hotbed of vice because the invite for the evening used the word “high”. There was also the line “Please do not try to fly.” What? That doesn’t tell you that psychotropic substances will be available at the gig? Then, the police roared that the issue at hand was that the premises — Oakwood Hotel, where Azok is located — didn’t have permits to host a party or play loud music. Then it was revealed that the one thing that could be pinned on the 100-odd people whom Mumbai Police had arrested, if their blood tests showed high levels of alcohol, was that they didn’t have drinking permits. Yes, in Maharashtra you need to be 25 years old and in possession of a permit to be able to order a drink at a bar legally. Absolutely no one (except TRP’s and my dear friend Leo) who gets a drink in Mumbai has a permit. No bartender asks for it.
What could make this story any more ridiculous? This: “No alcohol found at ‘rave’ party!” It turns out that the police stormed the place even before the party had officially started.
At which point, you have to wonder what the hell the Mumbai Police had smoked on Sunday night. Maybe they’re the ones who should be subjected to blood and urine tests for drug traces.
My favourite find from this whole episode, however, is that apparently, back in 1963, the state of Maharashtra passed a law that stipulated how much alcohol a person may consume in a day. The permissible quantity is 3.5 pegs of “hard liquor” and/or 1.14 litres of beer. I do like that 0.14 detail in the calculation for beer. Cheers!