What started out as a low key trip to Café Coffee Day (the Starbucks of India) for some Darjeeling tea ended up as a free for all bargaining bender.
Preface: In Dharmasala one night Arvil and I were enjoying this amazing Oscar hopeful of a movie, Jumper. Thirty minutes in we had to abandon its captivating plot and top-tier acting, headlined by a blond haired Samuel L. Jackson. Arvil was hooked; he needed know how the film played out … the emptiness he felt resulted in the kid peeling away at his own skin. In India, the one cesspool vast enough in shitty pirated movies i.e. Jumper, for a price of roughly $1, is Connaught Place and this is where we headed.
We snagged a rickshaw; guaranteed ourselves a 100 rupee ride, and headed off on a shopping trip reminiscent of the benders my mom endures when she hits up the local TJ Max. Around half way to Connaught Place we were caught by a red light. At most major intersections there are gangs of slum children peddling garbage magazines for 50 rupees a piece and since we were exposed in a rickshaw and I am a cracker-ass white boy there was no hope. Within seconds Arvil and I were gangbanged by five slum children all pushing People Magazine in our faces.
Saying “No thanks” or “I already have all of those magazines” was ineffective. We have experienced the wrath of these mobile magazine stands previously, but it was at this moment when I had an epiphany. I conjured up a strategy so diabolical, so ingenious, so cutting edge that I knew it would ward away these beggars.
I introduce to you the fake cell phone call; it worked so well that I am confident there is plenty of business potential behind this progressive tactic. Basically all you have to do is hold up a fake cell phone to your ear and pretend to sell junk bonds, penny stocks and yell incoherent American slang into your hand fashioned as a phone. I am not sure whether it worked because they actually thought I was on the phone or because they thought I was crazy but I really didn’t care.
Upon our arrival to Connaught place we were greeted by two young Indian boys offering us rickshaw rides, we explained to them that we were strictly in the market for DVD’s and their eyes lit up. We followed them down a set of stairs into a sketchy corridor lined with stores on both sides all selling the same exact crap … pirated DVDs and video games. We thought we hit the jackpot and for most people this probably was the mother-load, but as soon as this kid started asking me “You want to jiggy jiggy movies?” I knew that we had just walked into the largest underground Bollywood porno shopping center in Delhi.
Long story short, we ended up finding the actually shopping center and hard bargained for a couple hours. This underground shopping mall was filled with hundreds of identical stores all selling the same pirated electronics and every fake brand named shirt imaginable … this is a common theme throughout Delhi.
Between Arvil and I we made out with:
- 2 PC video games
- Fifa 2010 (which turns out is Fifa 2009)
- The Ashes 2009, it’s a cricket game (Haven’t played it yet but its probably The Ashes 2008)
- Seven DVDs
- Jumper – Arvil nearly spooged himself
- No Country For Old Men
- There Will Be Blood
- 10,000 B.C
- Away We Go
- The only explanation for Jims (the office) greatness is that he must be Michael Cera’s love child
- Transformers 2 – We just tested it out and its of hand camera quality
- District 9 – Christopher Johnson is the man
- A 250 GB flash Drive (one of two potential suspects for who gave Arvil trogan viruses after he put it in his computer)
- Initially the merchants were selling this for 1,500 hundred rupees but Arvil was able to haggle his way down to less than a third of that price.
- A UK Punjabi Club DJ mix CD – 150 songs (the latter suspect for who destroyed Arvils computer)
- A sweet hipster T-Shirt of the outline of India in green, orange and white with the small type words “I ❤ India”
All of this is easily valued over hundreds of dollars … standard greenbacks. Arvils stone-cold bargaining tactics added with my ruthless Jewish heritage ended up being a lethal combination. We paid roughly 900 rupees total, roughly $18. Even though the flash drive/Punjabi mix might have temporarily bamboozled Arvils computer, I think we made out alright.