I brought my visiting sister to dinner at one of my favorite local Indian restaurants the other night. We witnessed a strange event that I had seen before: a very large group of young people behaving very badly. The group was large and loud, members of the group were standing up in turns and announcing toasts, they appeared to be playing some sort of drinking game, and the volume just got louder and louder as the dinner progressed. At one point there was an obnoxious group song. These particular patrons started loudly stumbling towards the loo, thus passing by our own table, near the end of their meal. As usual, I start to wonder if I am just getting old in not finding this amusing, but it was really quite difficult to carry on a conversation over our own (delicious) dinner given the cacophony in the background.
As noted above, I have witnessed similar large groups behaving similarly badly in other curry houses in town on more than one occasion, and again the general theme seemed to involve drinking games. I can honestly say, I do not recall seeing this sort of behavior in either Indian restaurants in the US (which I frequented about as much as I do here, such that this is a fair comparison) or at other sorts of restaurants here in the UK. It seems to be yet another example of the loss of English Reserve amongst the youth.
My puzzlement on this experience is related to the fact that this was not an isolated incident, but something I have now seen on at least three occasions. Is this particular form of curry house rowdy behavior something that has become generally acceptable in the UK? Is this something that has evolved from a scenario in which culturally the proprietors of the establishments are well-known to NOT interfere (i.e. to request that the groups tone down the behavior for the comfort of other patrons of the restaurant) such that the groups seek out curry houses? Do people plan group outings to curry houses (as opposed to other restaurants) knowing that they can be rowdy or does this just coincidentally happen? Inquiring minds want to know. One thing is clear: the next time I arrive at a curry house and see a large group, I will ask to be seated as far away as possible. Depending on my anticipated tolerance for bad behavior at that moment of decision, I might just have to find another curry house.