A Dinner Party

Last night we went to a dinner hosted by our bank. In America, my bank never asked me to dinner, but it happens here among the private banks.

The party was well-done: it was held at the Taj hotel. Good liquour was served, which is important: those who like imported Scotch must drink it at a hotel, and pay a fabulous price for it; or, for home consumption, they must phone the bootlegger. He will bring Black Label or Chivas, say, wrapped up in newspaper, and the customer must hope that it is genuine. (I had a glass of okay Indian wine, which, for a reason beyond my understanding, cannot be sold in the wine shops of Tamil Nadu.)

Entertainment was provided: a man named Ash Chandler, who was introduced as 'India’s first English-language standup comedian.' In fact, he was Indian-American, here on a visit, and most of his material was American. Some of it must have gone over the audience’s head: herpes, not an issue here; an imagined eulogy for John Holmes, whom no one had heard of; Kerry’s body language. But he also sang several songs, did some good impressions – essential for Indian comedians – and told a few India-related jokes ("Nagaland – anyone here from Nagaland? No? Come to think of it, have you ever met anyone from Nagaland? Do you think there really is a Nagaland, or did they just make it up?"), so it worked out well.

We had an excellent dinner, chatted with a couple of people whom we hadn’t met for awhile, and went home feeling that our bank must really like us.

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