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27.09.2016

Dear 4S Habitué,

For years now, you’ve been dragging friends and visitors to your favourite bar as if it were India Gate. You write about it every year in the newspaper you work for. You’ve now made it a weird Twitter fetish. In the process, you have entered a spiral of self-destructiveness that is painful to watch. I write to beg of you: enough.

The problem, I must state right away, is not with 4S, by itself a harmless pub guilty of nothing more than an unimaginative menu, banal music and bad seating. It makes up with reasonable prices (although, as bpb has noted earlier, it isn’t even the cheapest bar in Def Col) and thus merits a certain amount of goodwill: Delhi is full of restaurants committing graver sins at higher prices.

But that’s about it. So why are you still going there? My hypothesis is that you’ve fallen into a poverty trap.

One of the reason it’s hard to climb out of poverty is that being poor is really expensive. As Sir Terry Pratchett once pointed out, if all you can afford is a cheap pair of boots that lasts only a year, you end up spending on new boots every year, instead of an expensive pair that lasts your whole life. You can’t afford health insurance, so you end up getting a high-interest loan if you actually do fall sick, and going to a quack. You buy detergent in sachets instead of economy packs, and pay almost a third more per gram.

4S is proof that Hemingway was right when he said that the only difference between the rich and the poor is that the rich have more money.

4S is proof that Hemingway was right when he said that the only difference between the rich and the poor is that the rich have more money. 4S is your soap sachet, your flimsy shoes, your Dickensian doc. It has you wasting your money on somebody else’s Defence Colony rents and on Arun Jaitley’s Swachh Bharat cess. 

There’s nothing 4S can do that you, like Meera Syal, cannot do at home for free. Your neighbourhood theka will supply the same drinks without service tax. You can almost certainly order in better food than soggy sesame toast and chilly on chicken-like meat. You can ensure your table is free of roaches, and that your female guests don’t have to take a deep breath and say a prayer before entering your bathroom. As for the seating, please. Your home is going to be more comfortable than any of 4S’s tables even if all you have is a bare floor.

Look, I know. Getting your home in shape for guests takes time, willpower and money. As a journalist or lawyer, your atrocious work culture ensures that you’re always short of time; your commute probably ensures you’re out of willpower. (Indeed, this is probably true even if you’re not a journalist or lawyer.) If hosting a party on Saturday means having to shop and clean from Monday to Friday, why wouldn’t you just go to 4S instead? 

There’s an answer, and it’s a rude one, but it must be stated: Because you’re an adult. Leave 4S to the people who really need it -people of uncertain drinking age and drinkers from repressive homes. You, with a flat of your own, an Uber account and a four-digit follower count on Twitter, should be doing better.

Look at bpb’s drinks meter for better deals. Throw house parties full of good alcohol, and give your guests something to talk about other than the mere fact of being at 4S (which they did last week, and the week before that). Get sofas and beanbags, and play the right music. Become the subject, rather than the medium, of gossip. You might even get your own set of subtweets. Thanks and regards.

This earnest appeal was contributed by Aadisht, former travel editor of Mint Lounge. His occasional writings may be found at aadisht.net. He tweets at @aadisht.

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