My life here—as you may have gathered—is a bit odd. Back in Blightistan, I’m more slumdog than millionaire. I won’t lie: my potential career options (international development? academia?) have been strongly influenced by the fact that being badly dressed is part of the uniform—fermented tweed, sola topi, bits of owl. So imagine my horror last week when I suddenly found myself interning as an almost-Footballers’ Wife.
Ninety percent of the time Housemate I is plugged Matrix-like into Sex and the City, but is secretly a social ninja. On Wednesday night she’d snared us tickets to a ‘fashion show cum IPL afterparty’. I refused, started to warm to the idea, found our companion would be a Russian model, and refused again.
Still, somehow we found ourselves lurching towards the Stalinistically-named luxury hotel ITC Maurya. To preserve the social order the tickets turned out to require that we (a) travelled in couples and (b) gave up all our personal details and Facebook access to pseudo-whiskey brand Signature. I quickly married a nice young Mussoorie lad called Harsh, and honey-trapped him into handing over his details.
Alas, we were distracted from the freebies by some bored bristly-faced blokes. ‘That’s ※☭☮♙✯!’ exclaimed someone. We dutifully shambled up for a photo with some famous Delhi Daredevils, surrounded by hopefully blinking girls—as a group, Indian Premier League players are the second highest-paid athletes in the world, richer even than the average Premiership footballer. This culminated in one particularly resourceful friend stalkerishly cornering a Bollywood actress in the ladies’.
The Show began. A couple of oiled shirtless chaps with pectorals like unripe yellow Alphonsos shuffled down the runway looking a bit sheepish. Every now and then a girlmodel stalked through wearing an expensive skirt made of teatowels and glared at the crowd. All proceeds to charity.
I hiccuped happily.
Next came an hideously inappropriate cheerleading troupe called ‘White Mischief’, and the IPL players perked up. They gambolled like lambs before wolves, lambs with heavy tangerine makeup and dubiously imported accents. One by one the cricketers were called up to cavort awkwardly with the cheerleaders—including Britain’s very own Kevin Pietersen, ending his stint as reportedly the IPL’s most expensive player at £1 million for six weeks, despite the great Indian pun ‘white men can’t stump’. (Later I felt obliged to have my photo taken with him, though unfortunately neither of us was cavorting.)
By this point we had well and truly sampled the delights of Signature and India’s vineyards. The dancing began. Alas, only for us, though I attempted to lure some bystanders into the Charleston and burbled about intercultural harmony.
We concluded with quite possibly the worst idea since my earlier ill-advised ‘interview’ in the Claridges bar (but that’s another story). An evil ringleader decided to elude our muscular but slow-motion security guard and dive into the VIP section, and we all followed for precisely 24 seconds of glorious We Are The Beautiful People dancing, before being gently ushered back into the prole pen. Finally, we danced with a bona fide dwarf. After a bit of dwarf grinding, Housemate I’s potential squeeze shamefacedly revealed himself to be entirely sober, and drove us safely home.
Just another night in D-Town.