Drugs Are Bad

This dealer thinks cutting his stuff with horse tranquilliser is for your own good.

“Wya” Salman* texts me in the middle of a date. When a cocaine dealer you’ve been trying to profile tells you he’s willing to show you how a deal goes down, you don’t really try to reschedule. “Now,” he says, leaving no room for discussion and showing up in an Uber, 15 minutes later. I don’t really have time to explain to my date why I’m leaving or where I’m going (I don’t know). Journalistic ambition wins over booty, again.


Salman and I head to Gurugram, where we’re dropped off at one of the city’s many under-construction apartment complexes. Another man—black, no name offered and dressed in fit gear—meets us, and we get into his car. No one talks to me, but on the way, the other two discuss women, sustaining relationships, and past sexual conquests.

We reach another tall apartment complex that’s only partially occupied. In a quiet room with no furniture other than a low table, there are a few people already waiting. I’ve been told to leave my phone in the car, so I can’t so much as drop a location pin to a friend in case things go south.

I’m struck by the dissonance—we’re in a grungy dank room and the other four men are dressed to the nines, leather jackets, bone white sneakers, a lone white guy sporting a pair of Garudas. Salman exchanges some words in what he tells me is Nigerian. A tiny scale is produced, and neat bundles set out on the table. The white guy with an Eastern European accent starts putting out piles, about six in all. There’s a brief chat, in English, about quality, and a fair price. The consensus is that Rs. 3,000-7,000 a gram is reasonable. And that’s it. The whole deal takes 20 minutes. I don’t see any money exchanged, just lots of playing around with phones. A bottle of Monkey Shoulder whiskey appears, and a few drams later, we’re toasting something, not that anyone was tense, but we’re all much more at ease now. Friendly even.


That’s when people start talking to me. Salman tells them he had to pry me away from a date. Everyone laughs. It feels like a whole different group of people from before. I’m inundated with unsolicited advice. “Bro text her when we leave. Maybe you can still go over, take wine,” someone says. “Yeah, never show up empty handed. Take some charlie,” says the white guy. “No,” Salman bellows, “never fuck with girls who are into this shit. Fuck 'em but don’t fuck with them. They’ll go where the drugs are and will leave you.” Someone intercedes that his wife and he do blow together, and neither of them has strayed, much.

I listen in silence as I finish my drink. I never manage a second date.

A few days later, Salman texts me that he has new ‘goodies’. I ask what they are, neck deep in work. 45% he replies. I don’t know any better, it doesn’t seem very pure. “Do you really want me to explain drug economics over WhatsApp?” He berates me.

A few hours later, I’m over and he is WILDIN. He has a waffle pan in one hand, one of those non-stick numbers. He then opens a contact lens case and pours out a heap. He uses a lighter to heat the base of the pan. The cold, he explains, makes the powder stick sometimes. Also, it’s so cold it can hurt the nose, more so than usual.

Once satisfied, he then makes another line. This is from a small bag. This is from the buy last week. They look identical. He tells me short of doing a line I’ll never know the difference. “I’ll know,” he brags. He’s cut a small Frooti straw. He’s doubled the amount while making them indistinguishable. I ask what he’s cut it with. “Nothing bad, I want repeat business. There’s some ketamine in there for a gentle come down.”

He offers me a line. I stick to the whiskey–it only had water in it.

*Source used a pseudonym.

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