Tuesday, August 12, 2008


It’s so outrageous that I thought everyone must be mistaken. Live music and dancing has been banned in all places serving alcohol in Bangalore. You heard me. Even though I kept it under the mandatory 6-decibel-or-you-go-to-jail limit.

From what I understand I am forbidden by law to do the following things in this city:

1) Sing
2) Dance
3) Play music louder than 6 decibels
4) Eat or drink after 11-30 at night
5) Laugh

If you do 1 to 4 you get your sorry asses in jail. The fifth doesn’t need to be enforced.

(Oh no, you’re mistaken they say. Only in pubs and bars and restaurants. You can do all these things at home, as long as you keep it down and don’t tell anyone. )

If you don’t believe me read this article: http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080061080

Is this really happening? What nightmare world have we come to inhabit? How come some complete lunatic (does my sorry ass get thrown in jail for calling him that? Do I get thrown in jail anyway for saying ‘sorry ass’ so many times?) gets to steal our culture away from us without anybody else in power stopping him?

What’s next…seriously? They already tried to ban women in most sectors from working in nightshifts. For our own safety of course. All of these bans are for our own safety. So that, after our nights of debauchery (music and dance is the devil’s work, the Commissioner is liberal in so far as we’re not being dragged to a stake and burnt) we don’t get robbed. Robbed by those criminals the police would have done better to focus on, rather than doing the rounds of pubs, bars and eateries checking if people aren’t God forbid…dancing.

So, in what new and novel ways will we be saved from ourselves? What’s next? I have no doubt there IS a next. A ban on women wearing pants and skirts? For our own safety? Because we all know rapists don’t attack if you’re wearing a sari? No woman walking about unattended by a man, so that all the criminals the police are too busy to catch don’t rape us? No looking up at the sky when you walk because you might fall into a manhole, the cover of which was stolen by a thief the police passed by in their hurry to get to the nightclubs to check if anyone was singing?

You can however by law:

1) Refuse to take a customer if you are an auto driver, and if you don’t feel like a refusal, cheat him/her, leave him in the middle of the road and abuse him/her in front of the cops. And get rewarded by the government by a hike in your starting charge. (you’ll be too upset and broke to get the wanton urge to sing or play the guitar!)
2) Spit (atleast it’s not as filthy as being a criminal musician)
3) Urinate on walls (It’s been in our culture for centuries)
4) Flash women while you’re at it ( the police blame dancing for it.)
5) Leave gaping holes in horrendously uneven pavements if you are a municipal official. (if someone falls in at night: Aah well, she wasn’t supposed to be out so late, and we suspect she had a weakness for singing and dancing. If someone trips over an uneven slab and breaks a foot; atleast he won’t be doing any illegal dancing, eh?)

If this bizarre and arbitrary talibanization of Bangalore goes on, there won’t be that many people left in this village masquerading as a cosmopolitan IT capital. Which, inspite of the slim pickings by way of bribes, might be exactly what the police want.


shreyasi said...

Thanks Sis! Last night, I was homesick for the land of my birth, today, after reading your article, not so!!

Nisho said...

OMG...What's next???

Thanks your post, I've decided not to come back to BLR... I'm staying put in SF ;-)

db said...

lucky i zapooed to goa when i did... owe the bosses one.

bengaluru cops should really look at the other end of the problem and tackle the bad guys instead. this is ridiculous. any plans to bring the 11pm shutdown forward as well?

Suchismita said...

And I thought people in Bangalore are better off than me in Goa !!

Rashmi said...

Fantastic; looks like a slick operation for the police to make some more money through applications for 'dancing'licenses! Sly, lazy and greedy - always a deadly combo.

db said...

it's not that cops in bengaluru are always dishonest - i once got a proper 'challan' for riding with two pitchers of kf in me (they even subjected me to a genuine breathalyser test). no demand for bribe.

but of course, b'luru being b'luru, i got screwed the very next day - by the lawyer who got my bike out. five hundred bucks.

Rashmi said...

I found out that Westminster (yes the Abbey variety)area actually do the same thing. They say that singing and dancing classify the premises as a club and therfore need a special licence. So it is not just good old Bangalooruuuuuu!