WHAT’S GOING ON at the Oberoi, Bangalore? We’ve visited this fine establishment several times before – but every member of staff, every member of staff tonight greeted us with the namashkar mudra.
That’s two hands held together, fingers pointing up, against the heart. It’s a Sanskrit way of showing your respect and salutations to the spirit within the other you meet.
That’s all fine and dandy. It shows you’re in India when the doorman dressed in his finery does it and ushers you in. But when you ask the barman for a beer – yeah draught Kingfisher, not Haywards 5000 – and he does the namashkar, well you smell something is afoot. Perhaps guests have complained that the Oberoi is not Indian enough? Perhaps some dignitary is staying there and the namastes are absolutely necessary.
Or perhaps some hotel manager has got a bee in his bonnet and told everyone, everyone to do it. It’s not a bad thing – it’s a good thing, it’s Indian culture. But something is going on here. Because it’s a new phenomenon. ♦
FOR A CITY that claims to be the pub capital of India, you cannot escape Kingfisher anywhere. Hic! The firm obviously has a very sound channel – it dominates the Bengaluru world. Chip giant Intel should take note, but sometimes you fancy a change.
And this Haywards 5000 stuff is something else. For Rs 75 you can have a taste of Haywards “Super Strong Beer”. At around eight percent it’s got a fine kick and according to one end user, “it’s strong but it’s smooth”, a bit like Indian Gold Flake fags.
Obviously, this beer is exported worldwide and is apparently a big thing in Tasmania. It’s pictured below against the background of a Bengaluru magazine that rivals Time Out and the incredible book “Enter from Backside Only” – an Indian phrase that sometimes is changed to “Backside being Beautified, do not Enter”. Cough. The juxtaposition of Hidden Bang, Haywards 5000 and Entry from the Backside only is purely coincidental. The official site is here. ♦
KINGFISHER is probably one of the best known Indian beers there is. But there’s more to Indian beer than Kingfisher.
The Kingfisher airline in India is owned by the same guy that brews the beer. But you can’t drink his beer on the frights, because consumption of alcohol on domestic flights is forbidden. However, it’s likely in August that Kingfisher will go international, so then you’ll be able to.
Last week we sampled two delights – Haywards 5000 and Knock Out. As you’ll gather from the latter, they’re pretty strong beers, and tasty too. They both deserve more exposure to the discerning connoisseur of beer [shorely lushes, Ed.].
We won’t mention Cobra here, because the Cobra you get in Blighty is brewed in Blighty. It was repackaged a few years ago, now where the Hindi for snake, Naga, was replaced by a Hindi transliteration of Cobra.
There are some fine Nepalese beers too. More power to their elbow! Hic. ♥