Meet Mumbai's #1 pickup artist

Jul 09, 2016, 08:16 IST | Hemal Ashar

Sid Malhotra is a pickup artist who can get any woman he wants – read all about him in soon to be released book, Laid in India

Smoother than a glass of Scotch, slicker than hair gel – that’s Sid Malhotra, Mumbai’s number one pickup artist who boasts he can get any woman, “anytime, anywhere.”

Dave Besseling
Dave Besseling

Before anyone gets their hopes up though, it’s best to explain that Sid is just a character in a soon to be released book, Laid in India.

The number-one rank is self-given, but this pickup artist was once a dork in a Tier-2 town in Andhra Pradesh, who can now get any woman, says author Dave Besseling.

Author Dave Besseling (left) wrote Laid in India after trailing a guy who was the inspiration for the character, Sid Malhotra. Pic/Adil Hasan
Author Dave Besseling wrote Laid in India after trailing a guy who was the inspiration for the character, Sid Malhotra. Pic/Adil Hasan

“For a guy, attraction is simple,” says Sid in the book, “It’s like a switch. You see a hot girl, you want to have sex with her. For a girl, things are more complicated. Looks are just one switch of six, maybe seven. If you can flick all those switches, she will feel a compelling attraction to you. It’s evolutionarily hardwired.”

While Sid Malhotra is the focus of the book, it is written through the prism of a Canadian journalist who trails the pickup artist from bar to bar as he proves he’s got game. In fact, that’s pretty much how Dave gathered the material for Laid in India.

Excerpts from an interview:
Q. Who is Siddharth Malhotra? Mumbai guy, Delhi guy, global citizen?
A. Dave: He’s a real guy. He lives in Bombay. I’ve only changed his name and a few facts about his past to protect his identity.

Q. Laid in India, how did you think of this name?
A. Dave: I had been struggling for a while about what to call the book, and then one weekend, my friend Samit Basu was in Bombay. After I told him what a terrible time I was having, he came up with Laid in India in about six seconds. Everyone else at the restaurant table started laughing, and since they are dear friends with impeccable taste and humour, it was a consensus I could run with.

Q. What 'research did you do for this book? Move from bar to bar? Who did you observe?
A. Dave: I went with Sid to several bars. For his purposes and tastes as a pickup artist, most of these bars were in Bandra, some in Lower Parel; anywhere he thought he could find hot girls. The first big surprise was that he preferred picking up girls in the daytime, at shopping malls, because in bars, at night, where I presumed he’d make most of his conquests, women were more aware of men pulling moves on them.

Q. Why Bandra bars specifically?
A. Dave: That’s where he lives and, in Sid’s words, ‘Bandra is where the models are.’

Q. Do you think pickup artists are the same anywhere, from Canada to Kolkata?
A. Dave: Well, this guy has adapted techniques first known to the wider world through Neil Strauss’ book The Game, for the Indian context. In the book he reveals some India-specific techniques. Underneath the few cultural differences, however, I think there is more commonality between men from anywhere who think picking up girls with rehearsed routines is anything to be proud of or aspire to.

Q. What if your book is used as a pickup manual by young men?
A. Dave: That was my one worry. As someone who’s lived in India for almost a decade and has heard endless horror stories from my female friends, giving any kind encouragement to what, a lot of times, amounts to sexual harassment, is the last thing I’d want to do. If anything, I hope the book will act as a deterrent to this kind of behaviour, but that’s never going to be the complete case, is it? I guess women will need to read it more carefully, and if anyone approaches them with Sid’s method, they can just laugh in their faces and carry on with their day.

Title: Laid in India
Out in: July Publisher: Penguin-Random House India
How much: Paperback for Rs 250

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