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Thursday, October 01, 2009

My date with alcohol; the highs and the not so highs

This post is a work of fiction and it has nothing to do with me. The main character here is refered to as 'me' for ease of reading. (Photo courtesy:

I’m not necessarily an alcohol aficionado, but I had my share of getting drunk, high and wild too. A decade ago I hated the smell of alcohol, the dipsomaniacs and their unpleasant behavior after a spell of drinking.

I was introduced to this not-so-heavenly liquid by force during one of the ragging sessions in my early graduation days by four gentlemen in one of the British styled 100-year old hostel rooms, on the banks of wide Yamuna river in a dark winter night.

It disturbed me, I vomitted and I went back to my room praying for forgiveness to my God with the explanation that bad times made me touch something as untouchable as alcohol.

The next day I complained to the University Procter that landed the above mentioned gentlemen in a soup. They were suspended from the hostel for 2 months but that did no wonders for me.

They were back with a vengeance and with the determination of converting me into an alcoholic. And they succeeded in a way. I had to drink a glass of concentrated cheap rum, and vomit almost everyday.

They wanted me and other fresher students to join the movement 'a-glass-of-rum everyday', until one late night drinking session on a highway dhaba followed by a disastrous accident killed one of those seniors.

The surviving three left alcohol forever and preached the benefits of being non-alcoholic. That was the end of more alcohol for me in during the period of my four-year graduation.

I however learnt and loved the idle urdu gazhals in the praise of alcohol and women and regularly won prizes at inter university events.

After graduation I joined a reputed media school where liberty, intellect and alcohol enjoyed the same status. I was slightly curious! How could such decent looking intellectual types are friends with alcohol? Even the teachers would speak about it with dignity in the classroom.

This changed status of alcohol made me think about it with some respect. I did research about the colour and nature of different varieties of alcoholic drinks....this time it looked better.... didn’t smell as awful... But I continued to resist from touching it.

A year after, I landed in the city bureau of a national daily newspaper. Day one, the forty year old city editor welcomed me by taking to an event in a luxury hotel, where booze flowed free and everyone had a glass in hand.

The bureau slowly discovered about my distance from alcohol. A bureau of 12 women and 4 men, all of them except this beautiful lady from Kashmir was a drinker.

They didn’t ridicule me but rather sympathized about how I’m missing something so adorable in life.

Still unaffected.... I stayed away ... but alcohol no more looked ugly or untouchable to me. I accepted being friends with those who loved alcohol and discovered the pleasures of smoke filled cramped pubs in an otherwise spacious Delhi.

In the meantime I was losing my heart to a female reporter in a rival newspaper, thanks to the job of reporting at the not-so-cool late night page three parties.

We shared the goal of spotting celebrities, their gossips and their glamorous lives, while we had to come back to our humble lives in the by-lanes of typical south Delhi villages.

Those trips back home in some PR sponsored car on wide Delhi roads at about 2 hours past midnight that made us closer. She was a rebel child born to a strict Bengali teacher’s family almost similar to mine except for the region.

She was a year younger to me but was a step ahead at least in her experiments with alcohol.

Almost a year after we both were on a junket to a beautiful Himalayan hill station, where a large hydropower corporation arranged for a luxurious stay and trekking adventures for journalists before their entry to the primary market for raising funds.

There was no reportage to be made except the interview with the chairman, which ended on day one of the five day trip. Rest of the four days was for us to retreat.

We succumbed to the idyllic charm of the hills and absolute comforts of life for those few days. It was easy to be romantic and shed all inhibitions. And that was a good chance for alcohol to enter into my life.

She introduced me to the finer and expensive, non-smelly and no-vomit side of alcohol. I was floored. We had more Himalayan adventures and more introduction, appreciation and to some extent addiction to alcohol.

The high continued as long as we romanced. It ended in a year’s time when she chose to go for higher studies abroad, as many journalists do after their fling with journalism in junior positions. I lost my interest in alcohol again note merely because I was heart-broken or something but because I couldn't afford the finer expensive stuff she introduced me to.

This time, male friends tried to revive the trend by introducing me to the dark, cheaper alcohols of our times, thanks to the duty free thekka shops in otherwise dutyful Delhi.

And the cheaper variety of alcohol comes as a natural support to the guys nursing their broken hearts at least in India.

Ever heard that, “Rumko pio aur ghum ko bhulao.” (Drink rum and forget the sorrow)

By now I was graduated to a learned appreciator and critic of alcohol, a much needed quality in the media and party circuit in the city of the Djinns.

Then work and professional excellence took over me and I had to move to Mumbai, the maximum city, where you have to survive on the minimum. Minimum sleep, minimum romance and minimum parties, because your maximum time is taken by the suburban trains.

Here you have a outlet for journalists called the Press Club, where you network rather than the party meets of Delhi. You have to be in good shape to go back home safely in the trains.

So being a Mumbaiah in Mumbai I here, discovered an alcopop, called Breezer, smooth alcoholic yet keeps you fit for a train journey back home. I just slip into some networking group and sip a bottle of red, yellow or green coloured Bacardi Breezer much to the annoyance of the young women journalists around.

The girls must be thinking this as an intrusion of sorts. I heard a remark once, “Look that uncleanly shaven un-cool guy holding a bottle of our drink as if he will eat it like a Wada-Pao.”

So it be, but I’m a breezer man now.

1 comment:

sadak chhap said...

Have you ever read any graphic novel... man you write like one... wonderful...