Happily Unmarried

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Sunday Post

There was this particular Sunday a few months ago. I was stuck in Leh because I was ill and four others were stuck there, to give me company. Now, Leh isn't a place with a happening nightlife or for that matter a life at all. The one passtime there is to hop from one Tibetan / Continental cafe to another and compare the quality of food, the prices and the crowds. If you are feeling indulgent, you could glug Godfather beer (I swear that's the name! It has Francis Younghusband on the label).

And if you are feeling realllly adventurous, you could go watch a movie, like what we did! Yes, a cinemascope, big screen, city-like movie! The theatre is called Delight Cinema and if you are ever in Leh, look it up, along with the Leh Palace and Shanti Stupa. But the trick to finding Delight Cinema is not to ask the Ladakhis. Very few of them aknowledge there is this aberration in their town. We asked the Kashmiris, they are there just for the season and like their bit of urban entertainment.

And then we saw the dingier side of the town. The cinema is tucked away in the old part of Leh, with narrower streets and with only the views of backs of crumbling houses. You will recognise it by the stink and the Pepsi poster outside.

We were there just for the experience of watching a movie in Leh at 12000 ft, so we bought the Rs 15 backstall tickets. We were there to watch Sarfarosh. Wonder if Aamir knows what hues and colours the movie takes on when played in Delight Cinema. The chairs were wooden and we got additional entertainment by a drunk Ladakhi or two who decided to somersault to amuse us. But if you don't fancy that and want to be more propah get the balcony tickets which claim to have cushioned seats.

There were even a few adventurous firangs who had decided to check out Bollywood... Should we have warned them that Bollywood isn't exactly as it seemed in Leh? We let them discover it themselves.

Aamir and Sonali and patriotism are entertainment enough in the plains. But when there is an overpowering smell, there is only so much you can take of it. After the first half hour, I decided that I like my movies at PVR and Rex, not Delight. And finally managed to drag my brood of boys who were valiently waiting for Sonali's skimpily-clad song.

The ocassion and the adventure seemed to warrant a Godfather beer so we trooped into our regular haunt for dinner and some beer in an attempt to get rid of the stink from our nostrils. I didn't find the experience funny at that point, but looking back, I can say that I have watched Sarfarosh in Leh and what a Delight-ful experience that was! (eeeeeks, bad pun, but can't help it)

- I


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