Indian Tourister: Devadas in Daman.

Where some Gujarati men come to cry over their long-lost love.

The most bizarre group of Indian tourists you will ever meet are the men from the dry state of Gujarat who visit the Union Territory of Daman. They drive down to the resorts by the beach in Daman to drink, on weekends, and usually in groups.

Middle aged men form a sizable percentage of the tourists or visitors who come to drink in the hotels along the beach. The younger lot prefer the beach and other attractions. The music these older men prefer are sung by live bands and they take requests.

Every resort or hotel in Daman has a live band playing on weekends. They begin the show with a couple of bhajan as the men pour their drinks. The bhajan is usually dedicated to Sai Baba Bhajan. You can smell the strong beer, adulterated IMFL or Indian Made Foreign Liquor as the men audibly gulp drinks to the slow Bhajan to get a quick high. As the bhajans start, the tables quickly fill up with groups of men in their 30s and 40s. Judging from the registration plates of the cars parked at the hotel’s they are mostly from Surat and other parts of South Gujarat. There are a few groups of families too but they are from Vapi, the industrial town next door that is part of Gujarat. Unlike the visitors, they leave early.

After the initial song dedicated to devotion and good luck, the songs that the men come to listen to, start. An unsuspecting visitor will expect the latest Bollywood item songs to start anytime. But I have already killed the suspense for you. The only songs that fly here are sad love songs from the 80s and 70s. Kishore Kumar, Kumar Sanu and a few Mohammed Rafis.

‘My destination is my first love’

As the songs come one after the other, the men with drinks in hand try to outdo each other by requesting songs that are even more heart breaking or sadder than the one before. This goes on endlessly for the whole evening until everyone is piss drunk and has remembered and relived every single moment of their failed love in the younger days. By this time, the families from Vapi who have come for a dinner and drink have collected their children and left.

 This is a typical Devadas weekend night in Daman.


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