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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Lifestyle

Wish upon a city
Serena Menon, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, July 13, 2013
First Published: 14:13 IST(13/7/2013)
Last Updated: 17:39 IST(13/7/2013)
People partying

For a city that rarely has the time to stop and smell the flowers, we’re quite demanding when it comes to having a thriving food and nightlife scene. We might not have the hours needed to set up a barbeque, fire it and then actually prepare the meat to cook there, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want the space for it. We sure do, and why shouldn’t we? But that isn’t the only thing we want in this city.

With immeasurable help from some supporters of Mumbai’s food and nightlife scene (through an online survey we conducted on Twitter and Facebook), we have created a short list of some of the most-wanted wishes that, we feel, can make Mumbai a better place. Now, all we need to do is hope that this list gets read by the right people, who can make these wishes come true.

1. Microbreweries
Imagine the tizzy our city would go into the day it would actually get permission to sell craft beer. That’s probably what has the authorities worried. What else explains why two city pubs (The Barking Deer and The White Owl) have been awaiting the permissions to sell craft beer for months now?

2. Fewer taxes
On April 29, the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association fought the new service tax implemented on partly and fully air-conditioned eateries. Considering we only have service tax of roughly 4.8 per cent, VAT on food of 12.5 per cent and some more tax on alcohol to pay — their move is justified. For once, it would be nice to pay just for what we eat, and not for all the corruption that’s eating this country.

3. Later deadlines
If we didn’t already know what this city with later deadlines was like, then this point wouldn’t reappear this often. Can the ‘city that never sleeps’ be tucked in at 1.30 am? A
5 am deadline, if not later, is definitely in order.

4. Gay bars
With the decriminalisation of section 377, let’s hope some hoteliers decide to explore this uncharted territory.

5. Al fresco/open air dining
Some places like Carter Road have begun tapping into the potential of this vibe, but we’re far from making the most of it. We have the promenades and the restaurants, now let’s give the city the required facelift!

6. Lower legal drinking age
At 18, you can wed; like comedian Ashish Shakya aptly puts it, “Just don’t sleep with strangers. That’s what arranged marriages are for.” At 18, you can vote your government into power and maybe even ruin your country. But at 18, you can’t have beer, lest you get drunk and trip. Really, now?

7. 24-hour entertainment and food zones
Residential societies get disturbed with all the noise, chaos and the traffic outside restaurants and bars, right? Then how about we divert all that trouble (and the fun) to an area that is located far away from the residences? This 24-hour zone can also easily be monitored by cops, if needed. Bandra Kurla Complex is staring us in the face!

8. Food trucks
A young entrepreneur recently attempted to get permissions to run a food truck out of Mumbai. The, babu, he was talking to probably didn’t even understand what that meant, and as a result didn’t grant him the needed permission. But in a city as cramped and expensive (in terms of real estate) as ours, this concept would fit well and add to the variety and vibe of food on the go.


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