Fifteen rupees - that's how much 30 ml of Old Monk costs at bars in Mussoorie (a hill station in Uttarakhand). It was November. We must have had six pegs, yet we were sober enough to play Temple Run. Winter tends to give even a teetotaler a European's capacity for alcohol.
Those who grow up in colder climates also have an advantage. As kids, if they ever sneezed on freezing nights, they would instantly be given a peg of that 'medicine' that makes the cold go away. It also makes you grin stupidly, but who remembers that?
Over the last few days, Mumbai has also developed a bit of a nip. Which is why, younglings are now heading to rooftop bars in flocks to celebrate the weather. Coffee shops and restaurants have made additions to their menus to make the most of the two-degree drop in temperature.
But some who don't mind going the extra mile(s) to have a good time, are headed to spots around the city that are only worth visiting at this time of the year.
These veterans start their 'dhaba stories' with details of where they were. "You know Dara's Dhaba? No? Okay," asked a friend's father. "Now would be the best weather to go there though," he added. These places are apparently called kukkad dhabas.
Dara's Dhaba was one such place. It used to be a small, quaint joint before it got gentrified. It is now, unfortunately, a landmark.
Located an hour away from Goregaon and scattered around the Nashik-Mumbai highway, these dhabas are seasonal attractions for
anyone who isn't a truck driver.
Located over large, open-air areas, their porches are covered with cots. Slabs of wood balanced between the cots are the tables. You enter and are immediately escorted to the chicken enclosure (you pick which one you want). Food comes first. Their specialty is the desi chicken cooked exactly how you want it. The cook will make your starters and main-course from the same bird. Only domestic alcohol is served, but if you're nice, they'll allow you BYOB on a cool, windy night.
No one really seems to be sure whether these places remain open all night. But they sure as hell don't call for last orders at 1.15 am.