Pissed. Drunk. And Vice Versa.
I had my first official drink at a New Year’s Party when I was in the ninth standard.
Of course, the party was at home, only family was present and the said drink was port wine, but hey, alcohol is alcohol.
It was my first ‘official’ drink, because unofficially, my first taste of alcohol was a sip of beer on a small cruise boat in Goa. I was four.
This happened because my father was ridiculously open-minded for a middle-class Maharashtrian man. He didn’t think alcohol was a potent poison that turns ordinary people into monsters, unless it’s abused. He’d let my brother and me take sips of his beer or whisky whenever we asked for it. When he thought we were of drinking age, he let us have the occasional drink too. His only condition was we drink at home, with him, where it was safe and we wouldn’t stumble into open drains or other people. That has made a huge difference to the way I think of alcohol. For one, I’ve never seen it as forbidden fruit. Because that’s what gets most teenagers to go nuts with booze, see. It’s wrong to drink. It’s not allowed. It’s what bad kids do. And when you’re sixteen (or eighteen or thirteen or whatever), the only thing you want to be seen as is a colours-between-the-lines good kid, right? Nobody wants to be seen as a dangerous rebel, someone who flouts the rules set by the establishment, someone who toes the line, someone who wears a leather jacket and rides (or sits behind someone who rides) a bike they don’t have a license to ride. Of course not. That would be… wrong. So telling teenagers, no, sorry, you can’t legally drink in this city till you’re 25, is going to make them sit at home like good kids and watch Hannah Montana reruns on Cartoon Network. At least that’s the logic the State government seems to be going by. And just when we were done doing Twitter jokes on that, up came the matter of permits. Apparently, we now need a daily permit to drink. We need a permit to keep booze at home. We’re permitted to keep no more than two bottles of alcohol at home. And now we need a permit to buy liqueur chocolates. My question to our lawmakers and keepers is this: have we run out of real problems to deal with? The economy is a mess, fundamental rights are been violated on a daily basis, every few months inflation threatens to turn bank robbers of us all. And what you think we really need right now are archaic alcohol laws? Just because nobody in the judiciary took a minute off from their hectic day of not passing verdicts on 25-year-old cases, to revise an act passed in 1949, means we can get thrown into jail for having a drink? This isn’t even ridiculous anymore. Because nobody is laughing. Sure, we’re taking out protest marches against Dhoble (Go Back Dhoble, by the way, is one of the most inane lines I’ve heard – Go Back Where???), because he’s interfering with our fundamental right to party. But the larger issue at hand is that the people in charge seem to be bitch-slapping the Constitution for kicks and kickbacks. And we, we can’t even drown our indignation in a drink.