Peco’s

The other day I received an email from a friend who’s planning a visit to Bangalore. She was asking about Peco’s and whether it was worth a visit.

My reply –

**************
Cons
A dilapidated place where a lot of sad, unwashed men hang out. Watery beer. Smell of hash and piss hangs in the air. Men to women ratio 17:1.

Pros
Dirty, smelly, smoky. Like trashed student digs. They play loud seventies music on tape decks. It’s cool like a pair of beat-up Converse keds. Its trashiness gives it a certain grungy edge against its shinier, reccine and glass competition down the road.

**************

Later in the day, I found myself amused by the Socratic Method of my argument and discovered that Peco’s presents an interesting paradox.

I’m not alone. Although I wouldn’t count myself among the regulars, funnily enough, almost every regular at Peco’s hates the place and frequently carps about the watery beer, the filthy surroundings and the scratchy cassette player.

If everyone who goes there hates it, then why go there?

Is there a certain perverse pleasure that brings out the hidden hippie within us all? Going beyond the peace and love and flower power and underwear burning, hippies stand for The Art Of Unhygienic Living. Eat that, Sri Sri Ravishankar.

As disgusting as it sounds, there are some among us who like to wallow in the mud. Who are turned on by the smell of armpit.

Julia Roberts and Drew Barrymore count among these, as avid readers of People magazine will recall. More famously, Napoleon, in one of his more amorous letters to Josephine, begged her not to bathe, for he wanted to enjoy her body odour to the fullest.

But then again, Napolean was French.

The friend who sent me that email is neat, immaculately stylish, pretty, twentysomething Italian girl.

Imagine if I had given the place a clean bill of health.

The habitués at Peco’s would have a stroke. For starters, she’s a girl. Holy Jefferson Airplane! What is she doing here? And pretty too. The last time somebody who fit that description walked into Peco’s, was maybe in 1969. And that was to ask for directions. Why is she smiling? And why does she brush her teeth? Please take her away. I can’t stand the smell of soap.

Understandably, a lot of the advertising crowd hang out at Peco’s. Listening to CCR, CSNY, Jimi Hendrix and who can forget that rush hour crowd pleaser, Grateful Dead. Discussing who’s just been made ECD at Lintas and how long the Brittannia business will stay with Grey. It used to be a regular haunt for IIM-B, NLS and several other fraternities. Most people I know from Bangalore have owned a “pitcher card” at some point of time and a lot of them know Elango on a first-name basis.

Peco’s is also a Training Centre. Once you finish three years or 50 pitcher cards, whichever comes first, your Jedi training is complete. You are ready to move to the next level.

Koshy’s.

It’s where the older, balder Peco’s veterans find a cosy nook where they will become fixtures till Judgement Day.

I’d love to tell you more about Koshy’s. But we’ll save that for another day.

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