Catchy title, but wait for the story. We are in Chandigarh, India’s only planned city. It is all numbered street squares—no usual Indian chaos—but a relatively soulless place designed by a Swiss engineer in the 50’s.
However, the Indian way finds its own within this “square” government town.
On our street are shops along one side—the other is consumed with six traffic lanes with nothing on the other side. Obviously, that quadrant was planned for residential. Within a two-block walk, one sees some signs that explain the modernization of India. A McDonalds, the symbol of international imperialism—until you read the sign, no beef or pork will be consumed in this establishment—finally truth in advertising! We have been asking where is the beef for some time. Down the street is “Burger Lady”—no beef here either. In a nice bar tucked in a basement, Michael Jackson is blaring away, at last a reprieve from Bollywood—the sign reads no one under 25 will be served alcohol. Well that explains why we never see any young adults drinking in public. The same bar has “Happy Hour –11-7pm half price” (less than a dollar). The street is upscale, everything from upscale toilets to high-end hotels. In addition, this is in a country where 60% of the population uses open toilets (toilets in public, not public toilets). We passed the bland hotels and followed the smell of fried fish and tandoori just inside a nook in the street; we found a man’s reprieve from shopping. You buy the cheap whiskey at the liquor stall at the front of the store. We buy beer; the menu was small, but had many meat dishes including mutton and tandoori chicken. This is where we found the signs, “vomiting will be charged 50 rupees”, broken glass charged 20 rupees”
Even in engineered Chandigarh, the Indian unexplainable can occur!