Gurgaon, in the collective subconscious of those who haven't visited the city, easily fits the image of a pre-apocalyptic city. An arrogant, opulent, concrete jungle with name-droppers, hooligans, thugs and crooks of various shapes and kinds lurking in its cement-and-glass wilderness. So an incident of a gang of high-on-testosterone hotel staff in the city harassing a bunch of youngsters and even trying to swindle them off money is shocking, but not surprising.
It does reaffirm a bunch of stereotypes we tend to associate with Delhi, Gurgaon, NCR - where tempers are hotter than its summers, where the money-power-police nexus is more evident than any other metropolitan city in India and where there's nothing more ingratiating than dropping a heavyweight name or two. The incident at Lemp Brewpub in Gurgaon, as recounted in a blog post, is a classic example of the Gurgaon brand of behaviour.
To summarise an obviously harrowing and long incident, a bunch of youngsters were harassed first by the staff at the Lemp Brewpub in Gurgaon, then by the owner who walked around literally flaunting the policemen in his company and then by the policemen who found it way more convenient to scare and intimidate a bunch of youngsters than rub a wealthy hotel-owner the wrong way.
Especially when the hotel owner, as the blog mentions, valiantly declared, "Mera naam kisi se bhi Gurgaon mein check kar lena." ("You can ask anyone my name in Gurgaon and they will know."). Unlike his customers, the Gurgaon police seemed to have done their homework well and instead of hauling up the restaurant authorities for overcharging and misleading customers with incorrect advertisements, they rounded up the customers who dared disturb the owner's prosperous and powerful universe.
The group of six youngsters, who refuse to name themselves on the blog, turned up at the Lemp Brewpub after the restaurant owners announced on Zomato that they were organising a 'Hawaiian brunch'. When the six turned up they were told there was no Hawaiian speciality as the chef had left following an emergency.
Following that, the customers were served with cold, badly cooked food, and several of their orders didn't even come in through the entire course of the brunch. The restaurant staff, also allegedly, kept leching at their female friend. However, outraged by their behaviour, when the six decided to leave, they were slapped with a bill double the amount they should have received.
The management threatened them, and the owner turned up with the police presumably to cut such errant customers to size. The police, also possibly stuck in a time warp, couldn't figure out what Zomato was and decided to trash the screengrab that the customers showed them to argue why the Lemp people were wrong. Instead, they rounded up the youngsters, herded them into a police van and took them to the police station. They, however, changed their stance when the youngsters called their parents - who in turn had to do their share of name dropping to secure a release for their children.
In a reply to a customer's comment on Zomato, a handle called 'restaurant owner's reply', however, rubbishes all claims made in the blog as false and untrue. The reply, doing the rounds of Twitter, also threatens to sue all detractors alleging that the customers are trying to defame the restaurant with no concrete reason. "We will continue to excel and win many other awards which we have already won by Times of India and Zomato," the reply says. It also claims to have 'video evidence' of the customers' misbehaviour and tells the customers that they should be ashamed that they were arrested by the police.
Moral of the story? You can neither fall back on reason nor law in Gurgaon. Don't dial 100 in distress, dial the number of the friend who has a MLA for a distant uncle.
Read the complete blog entry here.
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