Babus Of Gurgaon
Babus of Gurgaon are a breed. Or Maybe its us.
Having come from a white collar job, in which bad days comprised of espresso machine being out of order, we were in for an actual shock, and one we were utterly unprepared for.
You see when you open up an establishment its not 1 license but about 8 that you have to procure. Now just like all other good citizens of India we went through an agent also known as a middleman, paid our “extra dues” and waited for the permits to come through. We had to obviously show our faces for the formalities and those interactions sealed our faith in the middleman. It was like we were from two different planets meeting up for a transaction.
Here is a sample conversation at one of the dilapidated( I say it kindly) administrative offices of Gurgaon. The discomfort on both sides was so apparent, that we were offered more tea than is possible to consume in sweltering May heat. While I had references of Upamanyu Chatterjee’s, English August doing the rounds in my head, Yangdup who is from Darjeeling and is very particular about his tea guzzeled cups and cups of over boiled sweet tea in anticipation of the interaction.
US- Hello sir
BABU- Yes uhmm
US- We have an application pending and have just come to check what’s the status on it
BABU- ( not making eye contact) Show paper , Tea?
US- No sir thank you, here .
BABU- Pls sit down, have tea. It is being done. Where are you from?( only speaking to my business partner -who is a man)
US- No thank you Sir, I am from Darjeeling.
BABU- You have come from so far to open Chinese Restaurant?( Yangdup, my business partner is from Darjeeling, and can pass off as a brown Chinese fellow too)
US- Yes yes. ( who will explain speakeasy to this guy! )
BABU- We are very happy to welcome people from foreign countries also. I don’t like Chinese, but missus likes manchurian.
US- Sir, we have been in Delhi for 18 years, now its home.
BABU Have tea?
That went well.