Pubs in Delhi are holding private drink unions and whiskey parties for school students, defying a government ban on serving the under-aged.
The parties, popular as Conti, are a huge draw among the 11th and 12th graders. They use the opportunity to flash their coming of age, and to declare their 'me too' status among their peers. "It is trendy... You got to be in it to be counted!" say students who have had their moment under the sun.
Obviously, the students are very demanding when it comes to the Conti. They want it organised in the best of places. They want the meanest DJs in town. They want the deliberately loud dress codes. No less, they want the booze and fag!
The bigger the school league, the wealthier the community of the student, "the more obscene the demand", says Lakshya Gujral, a pupil of Merry International School in Rohini, North West Delhi. He is one of the few youngsters who says he "resent(s) the liquor clan".
Pub managers are, of course, happy to bite on. It is good money for them in the hard times. Reporters who posed as students to call some of the popular bars in the city were told it could cost up to a lakh of rupees for a liquor party.
"We charge Rs 1000 for a student. Liquor charges are extra based on how much is consumed," Jitendra, the day manager of a bar in Chanakyapuri, Central Delhi, told a reporter staging the call.