We’re Going to Ibiza?
With two days of a marathon wedding behind us, it was time for a day of letting loose; a day of taking off the fancy clothes and just being us. I’d enjoyed the shining Indian attire and the oos and ahs I got from locals as I made my way back to my guesthouse at the end of the first two nights. But as put on my regular clothes on the third day, I liked crawling back into my real self, both externally and internally.
That morning, I moved into the Fairlawn Hotel for my last two nights in Kolkata. It was by far the cleanest and most spacious of my residences in the city. The one room they had available was a triple room and they were lovely enough to only charge me for a single. I looked forward to trying all three beds out.
At the Oberoi Grand, my fellow wedding attendees were also more casual and loose. We took a lengthy drive to the Ibiza Resort in a town outside of Kolkata. When we got to there, some hopped in the pool, some lounged by it, some played frisbee. I joined some others on a paddle boating misadventure that involved ducking to avoid unexpected branches and bridges, getting stuck in lily pads, dousing our hands with antibacterial spray in hopes of avoiding acquiring dysentery after putting our hands in the water to break free from the lily pads, and of course, a lot of laughter.
The activities were followed by lunch which was followed by a much loved pastime in India: cricket. Watching the game was fascinating. To me it looked like a wacky and less rigid form of baseball with the animated pitching style, being able to hit the ball in any direction, and the way the two batters ran back and forth on a small field.
I got a taste of cricket and then decided it was best to take the first car back to Kolkata. Air pollution, incense, and perfume had been wreaking havoc on my sinuses. And after four nights in Kolkata, I still hadn’t given myself a proper chance to sleep off my jet lag. With more wedding ahead and not that much time to spend in India, I wanted to avoid getting sick. Nap time.
Dance, Dance Like it’s the Last, Last Night of Your Life
We began the night at the classy bar at the Oberoi Grand. Two men were playing cover songs in an elevator music style and it was somewhat of a sterile start to the night. But as the party moved to the room of a pair of wedding attendees, the night was clearly on its way toward a more animated outcome. For the first time, I had a chance to talk with the bride’s brother who turned out to be every bit as entertaining as his sister. He was clearly a fan of hip hop from the 90s and kept asking me about me life in “Califor-ny-ay”. With his English accent, it tickled me to no end.
Word came that the clubs were closing early and we didn’t have time to make it to any of them and we were disappointed. But then it was discovered that there would be one club open long enough to accommodate us. Moods lifted, tequila and lime were passed around, and we were off.
I have yet to go clubbing in England, but on my travels, when I’ve gone out dancing with English people, I’ve noticed a trend of having as much fun as you possibly can, as unselfconsciously as you can. With the exception of a few locals (who seemed to be consistently amused by us), our group filled the club and brought in a celebration.
They played the kind of songs my more music snobby friends (I studied classical music for quite some time) would scold me for enjoying. I’m not saying that I can get behind Justin Bieber, but I think there’s always a place for mindless dance music. There’s something about the elemental nature of such songs that can trigger our primal needs to move and express and connect. Tonight’s gonna be a good night, so just dance, everybody say “ayo” and let go, dance like it’s the last night of your life.
As our hips swayed, arms raised, feet jumped, and our voices sang, there was a sweat soaked non-verbal togetherness that permeated the room, and an individuality and freedom in our movements. The right people, environment and music had combined to turn a night of dancing into the best kind of release; a sort of spiritual elation in what some might deem to be an unlikely venue.