We all have a favourite pub. Or bar. Mine is Oly Pub. It’s my happy place. It’s where I had first gone as a 16 year old for my first drinking session with a couple of friends, post school- excited, slightly nervous and driven by a sense of adventure. It had been a happy winter afternoon.
Then the familiarity grew. University, new set of friends. Heading off to Oly for a cheap glass of beer became more and more common. But the charm never wore off. Still hasn’t. Probably never will. Park Street is a special place for me, like most Calcuttans and Oly defines Park Street for me. Not Flury’s. Not Mocambo. Or Peter Cat. It’s Oly. Magnolia’s or Silver Grill is never an option, let alone a priority It’s where I reunite with friends who live in different cities during Durga Puja. It’s where I go for binge drinking with my partner, on a whim. It’s where I celebrate little joys and random bouts of depression. It makes the village drunk in me very, very satisfied. There’s something very warm about that place. With it’s cheap, tattered sofas and disgruntled waiters. The rats scurrying about and the occasional cat that saunters by you, looking at you nonchalantly.
Few things feel as good as the chilled bottle of beer that arrives at your table. The water droplets trickling down the bottle as it fizzes and pours into the nondescript glasses. The colourful plastic bowls- red, green and yellow, heaped with chanachur that’s given to you. There’s something positively magical about that heinously unhealthy chanachur. It has the propensity to make you feel like a homeless delinquent in a free banquet. And if you know the waiter (read: bribe him generously on every visit) he will never hesitate before refilling that colourful plastic bowl with more of the hazardous stuff that tastes like manna.
I have graduated from school to university and now Park Street is my playground, what with me working there. And nothing compares to the feeling of rushing into Oly Pub and climbing up those stairs and plopping down on a sofa (if I am lucky enough to find a place to sit) as I await my beer. Makes life just a bit more special.