Rainy Night in Rajasthan.

I don’t understand your relationship. I do not understand you guys at all.

Like, at all.

It’s like 1 AM. Or 1:30 AM. Thereabouts.

We’re sitting at a table in a dimly-lit restaurant.

It’s this strange open-air restaurant that looks like someone set up chairs, tables and a kitchen in a roadside space intended for a fire station.

Is it still raining? I’m not sure. We’re sitting next to a concrete wall on one end, so I don’t hear anything to my right. Around me to my left, there are voices of people chattering in Hindi. Or maybe Rajasthani, I’m not sure.

There are Indian voices here and there. Someone exchanging pleasantries with the cashier at the entrance. Groups of Indian guys discussing in a local language. A waiter yelling details of an order at the guy making food in the kitchen.

I’m low-key wondering why this otherwise normal-seeming restaurant is open and is this active at 1:30 AM, but right now that’s just one of the things that feel strange.

I’m munching on my bowl of Pulav.

I think the bowl is weird. It seems like stainless steel, but the thickness feels strange to me. It feels like it was made out of the exact same sheet of metal as a bunch of stainless steel spoons. I’m not sure how exactly to explain it. The metal just feels the way a steel spoon or a fork does in your hand.

It’s strange. I feel like I’m eating from a bowl that really should be a number of spoons.

Very strange.

He responds to my comment on his relationship.

“Yeah- when it comes to money, that’s a different matter. We think of things differently when money is involved.”

I’m still pretty perplexed.

About an hour ago we were at their lodging in Old City – in more central Udaipur.

He was telling me about how his Kenyan girlfriend could get pretty possessive of him. Not wanting him to get too close to Indian girls. Apparently he was still sneaking around though – he said someone still gave him her number earlier in the evening. An Indian girl. That he had to save it under a male-looking name, or something like that. To throw off suspicion.

About thirty minutes later we were standing outside Glanza– a nightclub/bar on the outskirts of Udaipur. We were both very drenched from riding on his moped through the unexpected rain – giddy from jumping up in the air when we hit speed-bumps on the highway. Speed-bumps we could barely see coming through the blinding army of stinging raindrops that assaulted us.

We were standing in a more enclosed area, drying ourselves out and getting some respite from the downpour. He was telling me about some drug-dealing trouble he got in, back in Jaipur.

He said people did different things to earn money. He said there are a good number of married Indian women who aren’t sexually satisfied in their marriages. And so they pay younger men to have sex with them. He said he did that every now and then, and that it paid well. That they really liked black guys. He said there was even an app for it.

In my head I was like Okay, don’t even bother telling me the name of the app pls. That’s enough info right there, thank you very much hah.

I personally prefer more fulfilling and inspiring ways of earning money.

It just seemed strange to me that his possessive girlfriend who always tried to keep him away from Indian girls, was fine with him having sex with older Indian women for money.

“Yeah, she knows about it. She’s okay with it.”


I heard what he said, but it did not make sense to me.

He was on a call about five minutes ago. We were sipping on beers, waiting for our food to be ready.

I was in a conversation with someone a few days ago who mentioned something I found very interesting. He said a good number of Indians enrolled in PhD programs in public Indian universities, just for the accommodation. He said tuition in government universities was so subsidized, that people enrolled in Doctorate programs just so they would have a place to stay while they worked on something else – possibly studying for International exams so they could travel out of the country. They wouldn’t attend class, nothing. Just make use of the school lodging. And he said it was normal. That even some of the lecturers had done that.

I thought that was really interesting, and I brought it up while we waited for the food. He just completed his Master’s degree at a private university here in India. He came from Nigeria for school. I was curious if people also did that stuff at private universities, or if there was some other variant of it there.

We were discussing that, when the call came in.

He answered his phone. It was his girlfriend.

When we headed out for food and beers about an hour ago, she said she was going to a nightclub.

She was now calling him from the club.

Oh. He’s asking for that? Tell him he’s going to have to pay extra for that.

Hm. I’m not sure what “he” is asking for. I’m not sure what “that” is.

But I have an idea.

Someone at the nightclub is requesting for paid sexual activity with her. She’s calling her boyfriend for negotiation advice.

They discuss on the phone a bit more, and then the call ends when they come to some sort of an agreement on what to do.

Our food is here now.

I’m munching on my Pulav, scooping up interesting spoons of rice and vegetables from the strange steel bowl that should be spoons.

He’s sitting across the table from me, munching on some unrecognisable Indian dish. Hearing my perspective on their relationship.

I do not understand you guys at all.

Like, at all.

Image: Somewhere in Udaipur.

Lagos: On Dating Apps and Strip Clubs. 2

The waitress whispers her phone number into my ear.

I take note of it as I sip on my drink.

This piece is one in a Series. A list of all of the pieces in this Series can be accessed here.

I walk into the consultation room.

The doctor is working on a computer further away. She turns around on her chair to welcome me.

I sit on the patients’ end of the consultation desk.

I think there’s a UNICAF page on the computer screen.

Hm, you’re working on some online courses?

She tidies up on the computer.

Yeah yeah. You know, as a doctor learning never stops.


She gets up and walks towards the desk.

We begin to discuss.

The waitress whispers her phone number into my ear.

I take note of it as I sip on my drink.

It’s definitely been a while since I attempted memorizing a phone number in one go. Usually it didn’t have to be repeated so many times, before I was certain I had it.

When I initially asked the waitress for her number, she said it was against company policy.

Said she could get in trouble.

I told her she didn’t have to write it down or anything.

She could just whisper it into my ear while we discussed the drinks menu.

“I just feel like relationships in Lagos are all about money.”

“And the guy is the one who pays for everything.

Honestly, sometimes it’s not clear if you’re actually dating someone, or if you’re just hiring an escort.

I think it is absolutely ridiculous.”

I am expressing my disconcertion to the doctor, in the hope that she will empathize with me.

I am somewhat taken aback by her response.

“Everything in life involves expenses. If you’re in a relationship you have to spend money. Even if you’re getting married, you have to spend money. That’s just what it is.”


This woman has scattered everything.

It turns out she herself is a proponent of the unsettling asymmetry of financial responsibility, which seems to be the norm in Lagos relationships.


Nigeria is just an absurd place, with its very strongly patriarchal norms. Some people are fine with it. Some even like it.

I’m just very uncomfortable with the idea of taking responsibility for a fully-grown human being under such an agreement.

Like, why in the name of God would I want to burden my life in such a manner? Am I incapable of appreciating the value of spare money?

And here is this woman trying to make me feel like this is just the way life is. That I have no choice but to accept the way things are.

Ah, I need to travel.

I need to travel and reconfigure my brain.

The waitress is punching some numbers on the POS machine.

I am paying for the drink I had.

I am in a nightclub in Victoria Island. I’m seated by the bar, listening to the music and watching the pole-dancing women up ahead.

I give her my card.

She keeps punching the numbers.

At some point she says she’s adding a tip for herself.

I say Hmm

She says she’s tipping herself one thousand five hundred Naira.


One Five.

A whole One Five.

It seems this waitress took some shots before commencing her shift.

Odindi One Five ni o fe fi se tip. A whole One thousand five hundred Naira is what she wants to tip herself.

At my expense.


She’s definitely tipsy.

I express my objection.

She begins to flirtatiously debate. Smiling and teasing and doing all sorts.

That’s the sort of flirting Lagos women know how to do. Flirting to collect money. Financially motivated flirting.


I insist that I am not going to pay such a exploitative tip.

What rubbish. Where is the money.

She begins to renegotiate.

Part 2.

Image: Mojito somewhere.

Nightclubbing in Berlin: Sisyphos.

I am skateboarding down the road. I’m heading for a club.

“Hopetosse” or something like that. I found it on Google. Traced out the directions on Google Maps.

Everything is annoying. Life is bad. I need some clubbing in my system this night.

I am at Hopetosse. There is a queue of some sort. I join.

It’s my turn to go in. The bouncer guy looks at me. He is asking for something. I wonder what he is asking for.

He is saying something. Tonight’s event is by invitation only, something like that.

Ugh. Bloody hell. Ah. Everything is terrible.

I am walking back. This is such a terrible night. Everything is bad. Even the nightclub I intended to visit was not accessible.


Someone is calling out to me. Some guy across the road. I wonder what’s up with him. I’m thinking he could be a drunk homeless guy, but I don’t know- this guy sounds too confident and clear-voiced to be a drunk homeless guy.

I walk up to him. We begin talking. He is German. He is tall. He is very tall. He is like six foot seven. I like him. I like very very tall people.

We keep talking. His name is Michi. He has had such a great night. And he also had such a great day. We keep talking about how great of a time he has been having.

He is in a very good mood.

I tell him about the severely disheartening event at Hopetosse.

He tells me not to worry. Says he has a friend who manages a club nearby. Says it’s a very selective club, but that he can get me in.

Ohhhh. Okay. Okay. Maybe tonight won’t be so terrible after all.

Now I myself am beginning to get in a good mood.

We are at the club.

The name is “Sisyphos”.

I am talking with his friend. I think he is the manager of the club. He is also very tall.

Wow I like these guys, they are so tall.

We keep talking. There’s another guy- one of the managers I presume. His girlfriend is next to him. I think her arm is around his neck.

He’s telling me about how he dropped out of an Architecture college programme a while back. He tells me about a motorbike roadtrip he undertook across a number of countries in West Africa.

My eyes are wide open with admiration.

The manager guy asks me what I’m doing in Berlin. I tell him school. I’m a college student.

He goes, “Oh so you’re a smart one!”

I don’t know what he is talking about. I think I’m actually seriously considering dropping out and going on motorbike road trips like his friend.

At some point they welcome me into the club.

The club is going to be open all weekend. From Friday night till early Monday morning. Nonstop. Wow. These German guys really mean business with their clubbing.

I don’t have enough cash in hand for the gate fee. And I think paying with my card is problematic. Michi has a female French friend who is also here to club. Her name is Virginie. She helps me with the additional required Euros. I’m to pay her back later. We exchange contact details.

Oh wow these people are so friendly. This night has taken such a dramatic turn for the better.

I am in the club. I am in one of the halls. Berlin generally has this lyricless Techno House kind of music that’s like everywhere. Initially I found it very strange, but I think I’m gradually getting the hang of it.

I keep dancing to the Berlin lyricless Techno House kind of music.

I am outside. I’m on the way to check out another hall.

On the way, I contemplate the ethics of clubbing as a boyfriend. What should I and should I not do in a nightclub, when I have a girlfriend (who is not with me in the club)?

What is allowed? What is right? I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m still thinking about it.

I am in another hall. This place has so many halls. I have a lot of regard for these German guys. This club gives me a lot of respect for them.

I am dancing. I take some puffs of someone’s marijuana.

Wait, where the hell did he go. Isn’t he going to take it back? I don’t understand, what

I keep dancing. Every once in a while, I find myself in a situation which brings to mind my earlier contemplation on what is right to do in a nightclub when you are in a committed relationship with someone somewhere.

I keep dancing.

It is in the early hours of the morning. I am on the way out of the club. I come across the tall manager guy. We shake hands and laugh. He has such big hands. I let him know how much of a great time I had, and how much regard I now have for German nightclubs.

You’re going home alone? You’re a loser.

I’m not quite sure what he means.

Wait do you have a girlfriend?

Yeah! Yeah I do.

Oh okay.

The expression on his face changes. I am not quite sure how to interpret it.

I am back at my apartment.

For some reason the girlfriend is still up. She is at her place. We’re messaging. I let her know how much of a great time I had. Told her about the club managers I met.

She doesn’t seem too excited. She has become weird recently.

Very serious. Always thinking and talking about CVs and career and internships and all that stuff.

It annoys me so much. She used to enjoy hearing about my clubbing stories. That was one of the things she liked about me when we started dating. Now it feels like she passively disapproves.

I don’t like how it makes me feel.

It makes me feel like the nonchalant boyfriend who goes clubbing all the time and for some reason seems unconcerned with CVs and internships and career stuff, which unarguably are the absolutely most important things in life. More important than food or air to breathe even.


I keep thinking about what a great night I had.

It was a great night.

I don’t care if the girlfriend disapproves.

Okay. maybe a little.

Just a little.

Image: Berlin. A different night.