Thursday, March 26, 2009

Opinion – Polka Club’s Pink Paradox

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Delhi's Gay Saturday

Delhi's sole Saturday night gay disco is horrid.

[Text by Anonymous; picture by Gigi Elmes; this is a visual representation of Polka Club where photography is not permitted]

It is true the arrangements at Kailash Colony's Polka Club, the only Saturday night disco for Delhi's gay people, are completely horrid. (You may also like to read: City Life – Gay Saturdays at Polka Club, Kailash Colony)

The organisers at Polka seem to have completely missed out on the 'pink' factor beyond managing to entice the rupee in that colour. Come to think of it, any place in Delhi that decides to hold a gay night will get the pink rupee in abundance. But that's where they probably go singing all the way to the bank, and leave the pink people high and dry.

To start with, entering the place feels like a mix of taking a flight from Delhi airport, helping Delhi police solve a murder mystery and commuting in Ring Road traffic. Why can't there be two people taking the money? Why do the bouncers have to be so thuggish? Why is there nobody to smile at the people walking in? Why is the whole place so dirty and has that Paharganj-standard look? And, pray, why are straight couples allowed entry?

Then, why is there only one man at the bar to make drinks for two hundred customers? All the others look like they know how to pour vodka out of a bottle into a glass, but they don't. And why don't they realise gay people usually like fancy cocktails? Why don't they even know what tonic means? Why don't they have Red Bull? Why do they have to use their fingers to add ice to your drink? Why are the glasses so chai-at-dhaba style?

It's true they've worked on the air-conditioning, but they also seem to have worked on their laser system, which is in a very accurate Christmas combination of red and green. This laser 'show' is so blindingly efficient that the whole place feels like 24 December at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Only there, it makes some sense.

The music. You know that song from the film Delhi 6 that all the Indian women sing about how good or bad their in-laws are? This DJ-sort-of added some old Ace of Base type background beat to it and now plays it three times every Saturday night. The 'Western' music gets relegated to the very early half-hour or so, and the most modern track on that list is World Hold On. So it's a compulsory retro night every night. And, to top it all, it's always the same music in the same sequence.

One wonders why they have the DJ at all - one tiny iPod could probably do his entire job, plus at least shuffle the tracks every now and then.

But all this would be of no consequence, and the gathering would be really quite tolerable, if only the people were not the same set as one sees/meets/makes eyes at/avoids brushing against at every other gay 'do' in the country. The same old queens, the same old goras and Eastern Europeans, the same Israelis. And even the same rentboys. I've had enough, I realised at about 1am on my third Saturday night there.

But, Pegs n Pints, Delhi's oldest gay disco (only on Tuesday nights), is not much better. I expect given the time that that has had its run, Polka will find it easy to get to that niveau. Until then, I for one will go on spending my weekends at home, or, as we like to say in Delhi, at 'private parties, dahling'.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now we're turning innocent comments into articles without permission from the anonymous authors, eh?
Is that all they taught you to do at The Hindustan Times? To plagiarise?

Anonymous said...

Chants of Polka Club, the place of my dearest love, the place surrounded by hurried and sparkling currents,

Health chants--joy chants--robust chants of young men,

Chants inclusive--wide reverberating chants.

Oh to have my life henceforth my poem of joys,

To dance, clap hands, exult, shout, skip, leap, roll on, float on--full of joy.

Walt Whitman (slightly edited)

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