Spirits and Haunts : The Fairlawn Chronicles

Fairlawn is a beer garden in Sudder Street, off New Market. Afternoons, you can sit under the shade of big, dirty, yellow and green striped umbrellas and have a beer or two. Evenings, you can sit under same┬ábig, dirty, yellow and green striped umbrellas and maybe have a beer or 4, but now, you’ll be surrounded by flickering little electric lights strung up on the trees, the walls, winding up and down like creepers.

And you can smoke. Because it’s an open area drinking place, one of the few in the city. And you can have chilly chicken or jacket potatoes, which will be brought to you, carefully wrapped in foil paper. They are hygienic that way. Evenings, it’s a bustling place. A lot of students and a whole lot of tourists, mostly backpackers who usually stay in and around Sudder Street when visiting Calcutta.

These are the pretty lights and big, dirty umbrellas I am talking about. Along with beer of course. Everything gets nicer with a beer, right?

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And here’s Fairlawn in the afternoons. A little less magical, evidently, much nice just the same. (sorry, the photo shrunk by some mysterious way)

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And here’s Aveek and Biswa. Being their general, goofy selves after many rounds of beer.

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And here’s Biswa talking about the wholesome goodness of South Park and a comparative analysis between Eric Cartman and Jennifer Lopez. Clearly the former wins.

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Fairlawn is my go-to place when I am in need of some cheering up. It’s an instant mood lifter, and what makes me the happiest? Well, there’s this very benign girl cat who lives there. Black and white, thin young girl cat with a beautiful face. Large, expressive eyes and regal cheekbones. She’s always hungry and always in need of cuddling. Breaks my heart every single time. It is strange how all these little animals wander into your lives, fleetingly, and carve a place for themselves forever.

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Spirits and Haunts : The Olypub Reprise

We all have favourite haunts. Different haunts for different kinds of hauntings, of course. For books, for a cup of coffee, for grabbing a burger, for sharing a drink…now this sharing a drink bit is of special interest to me, since, well, I love drinking (not quite an alcoholic yet, don’t panic). Who doesn’t love a nice, chilled glass of beer? I am sure you do. And if you don’t, chances are I will never really love you either. Not loving beer is almost as bad as not loving cats. True story. So, anyhow, usually after a tiring day of work, I head to this seedy little pub called Olypub. It’s a shady place that I love visiting for a good, cheap glass of beer. The waiters are friendly and always eager for a tip. Often, you can hear loud meowing, and while you look everywhere for the source of the meow, you’ll suddenly see a pair of eyes staring back at you from within the vent in the wall. The first time I had seen that, I was positively mortified. I was panicking. The cat will surely die if she stays stuck there. Dafuq? After interrogating the weary waiters, I am told she likes sitting there from time to time. Okay. Great then. So. I like Olypub. It’s a friendly place with strange people and weird animals (yes, you can often spot rats there too).

So here are a few photos of Olypub, where we go, get mindlessly drunk and mindlessly philosophical/poetic. (love that place, I tell you)

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That’s my bff Biswa with my bf, Aveek. Happy, drunken people. Cheers!

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And that’s a whole lot of beer, evidently.

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That’s Biswa and I. Mindlessly laughing, evidently.

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Oh. Looky, looky! Kitten at Oly.

So, that’s Olypub for you. A wonderful little bar (let’s face it, it’s not exactly a pub, okay?) where you can go and sit sit endlessly with friends, enemies, whatever. Watch the rats. Overhear inane conversations of loud, drunk people. Watch funny drunk people tottering about. Maybe you can even witness a lethargic, half hearted bar fight. If all else fails, keep an eye out for a cat or two. Or just make do with the rats. Oh, and they make amazing beef steaks (so I have heard. I don’t eat beef. I am fond of cows, the way I am fond of pigs and goats, etc) and chicken a la kievs! Give it a shot.

It also happens to be a favourite hangout spot of NRIs (yes, non-resident Indians) who get all drunk and nostalgic in Olypub and make it a point to bring along their foreign friends too. I would too, if I were an NRI. But I am not. Hic!