I drink only on two occasions –when I’m with friends and when I’m not -Panky Baba.
Every sober man alive has either a glorious alcoholic history or has not yet lived the life God gave him. And though I’m sober most of these days –I too have a [not so remarkable] history; a history of quick neat shots, of talking nonsense[I don’t need to get drunk for that], of throwing up and impressive of all, of trying to prove -I’m not at all drunk, Ok!!! But yes, once you mature to the higher grades there are a few changes that overcome you: You drink to savour the taste and you don’t try hard to prove –Hey, I’m not knocked out yet!! […and handling more than 6 large pegs are no big deal for a strong man like me –blame the Male Ego]
So as I was mentioning about the transformation, for some once the transformation from volume to class happens there is no going back [ideally speaking] while for some the transition never happens. This little write up is my walk down memory lane of how the Bewda[drunkard] in me evolved and like I always say –I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. So scroll down and read on…along with a large of whiskey on the rocks might not hurt at all.
My hay days were crude and since the cash was rationed the choices were limited. Like many prolific Bewdas my debut was with 8PM and though in those days the money was the reason, now when I’d go for an 8PM it would be out of taste. Those days we had an occasion to drink to –failed in the exam, suffered a breakup, lost a cricket match –while now we drink to make up an occasion. I still remember our 3rd semester exams just got over and to celebrate the accomplishment [I don’t understand what kind of accomplishment that is, anyways] we bought a khamba of 8PM. The venue was Ravi’s@Naini as always. My closest buddy [who recently got married and sober also] had started off with 2 neat large pegs off the botal [bottle]. For those of you who’re wondering what a ‘neat’ means –its daroo in its unadulterated virgin form, right out of the botal and consumed without water, soda, ice or any such thing that would exterminate the purity. To give you a background of Dee, he’s a lanky 180 inches lamppost without an iota of fat and when he used to drink gallons would disappear while we’d be clinging to our first. That evening while we tried to support each other as we staggered to the Daru shop, arms around each others shoulders –we set out for the second botal. Enroute he called him mom to tell her he’d be late tonight –I wondered whether we’d be sober enough in the morning. I told my mom that I’d be staying back at Ravi’s for the weekend. Back at Ravi’s the owner of our Adda, another of my old time partner-in-crime had mixed a drop of daroo in a litre of water [such a waste] and seemed to have not liked the taste. I didn’t waste time in convincing him that the water was to be blamed. That evening I was in my superman best and when I realized that my I’m-not-drunk look was not convincing enough to the crowd and to prove my innocence I wrote down a c or c++ program. The argument was if I’m drunk I’d not be conscious enough to remember the program. The program was correct –we all knew it. I was horribly drunk –we all damn knew it. Whom was I fooling?? There were many such episodes, but this one is etched on for a long long time.
Then came a time when I started earning a meagre salary.8PM once in a quarter [here quarter means 3 months] became 8PM over weekends. And once an year I got drunk as hell. My companions will never forget that evening in May 2005. That was the day I’d got as drunk as I could have. And while I was heavenly-knocked out, my friends were shit-scared-knocked-out. Obviously I’ll not disclose much here, but yes that was my record best –once in a life kind of experience. And I’m sure I won’t be able to do a repeat telecast of the performance.
There were times, Saturday evenings with a glass of 8PM, in a dim lit room, where all of us had reclined to a comfortable corner as the hungama had died down and the aloo-bhujiya and chicken kababs were done away with, while Jagjit Singh sang us away to glory. Kaagaz ki kashti…Hooton se chukar... Aapne marzi se kahan…Aapko dekhkar…Tumko dekha to… and many such time tested shots had taken us miles and miles high along with the high spirits that we were already in. My best drink partners Debu, Panky and Kroy were speechless as we savour the music, the lyrics and the daroo. Even now I’m kind of fixed since that was a un-put-down-able experience we’ve had. Our language was silence.
Then there was a time when my cousin bro was getting married and over three evenings we had 3 Teacher’s khamba. That was the most expensive blended scotch whiskey I had had, then. That was also the first time I had whiskey with a class of people who made me a connoisseur out of the rock that I was. Whiskey drinking had a style and a magnificent taste. My 3 evening course left me enlightened and light-headed. That was my turning point. Crude turned to elegance.
It was an office day when a colleague of mine showed me what he’d got from UK. I never knew that the 1 litre botal will become my characteristic drink for years to come. The finest single malt Scotch from the highlands and with a taste as warm and deep –the drink was an instant hit with me. The name’s Glen Morangie.
Over the years much daroo had gone down my throats but Glen Morangie and 8PM have carved a place for them. And I’m sure every-one of us has a personal choice of ours…and ofcourse great music to compliment it.
Its been a long time since I’ve visited heaven or any place near, and as I write this [listening to Kishore Kumar’s- Kahin dur jub din dhal jaye] I’m missing one of my six glasses and a few good daroo partners.
Till we meet again, CHEERS to the good golden fluid known as –darooo…