On the way, my wife noticed several long and orderly queues in front of the IMFL shops. She chuckled in disgust, "I have never seen a single man at the ration shop. Look at this, these people are good for nothing". I sympathized with her; even I have never been in a ration shop queue.
Genes. In spite of a lot of perseverance and concerted efforts by some of my friends and some cousins, I have remained a teetotaler. A hopeless one at that !
Why should we have Friends ?
A very dear friend declared during one of our many reunions, "Hey Man, it is such a shame you still haven't tasted life. You have wasted, mind you... absolutely wasted 40 years of your life. I pity you, you good for nothing fellow". He even helped me to initiate then and there. To please him, I halfheartedly tried to take a dip. But couldn't take even a sip of that atrocious cocktail he conjured up and thus failed again. Miserable me !
A matter of Life and Death !
A cousin went on to prophesize, "Govind, what life are you living ? You don't smoke. Don't drink. Gave up non-veg. Such a silly waste of life ! You know what ? Long after all of us, your contemporaries are dead; you will still be alive. And your great grand-kids will curse that the old man isn't kicking the bucket. At least enjoy drinking so that you live well with us now and die along with us !"
My Experiments with Spirit !
All this wisdom has somehow failed to dawn on me. The grape wine presented by Christian friends during Christmas is all the taste of Alcohol I have had so far. I can't discount some of those Ayurvedic medicines given to us during childhood. The Arishtams have good Alcohol content.
Well, I also must confess I faintly remember the taste or the pungency of the Goan Cashew Fenny given to us when we had cold and fever during childhood. It was a strictly monitored affair and was restricted to half an ounce.
That is just about everything when it comes to my tryst with Alcohol. Some appetizers used as prescription medicines do contain 2 - 4% Alcohol. But being the voracious eater that I was, my parents never had to worry about my appetite. If at all, they perhaps secretly wished for someone to invent some kind of appetite suppressants !
A Spirited 'Love' Story !
Coming back to Alcohol, one wise gentleman told me, "Doctor, I have gone through your Blog. You talk about 'Live, Love and Laugh'. But you haven't lived at all. If you don't love your Liquor, you have not lived. So where does the question laughing come ?".
I shot back a sharp question, "Do you mean I am dead man walking ?". He apologized and said, "No, no, sorry, very sorry, not like that. It is just that those who don't drink will never experience the true emotions of love and laughter." I wanted him to elaborate on it and he had a story.
See Doctor Sir, I was in love with a girl when I was about 25. She also liked me. But you see, she was a Christian, and I am a Hindu, Nair. It was very difficult. But after a lot of effort, she agreed to come with me and marry me. She finally said those words, I Love You. That was the most beautiful day of my life.
But what happened ? Ask me what happened. Her father and uncles came to know. They came to our house and threatened us. My parents and sisters were threatened. And before I could react, she was married off to a boy from Saudi. She went off without a bother. Never tried to find out if this animal was alive or dead. Sounds like Cinema, right ?
Well, I am not exactly Devadas to drink and destroy my life. But I started drinking only after that. Then I also got married. But could never love my wife, because I still loved that girl. So I started drinking and that helped me. I could imagine my wife was her and that changed our life.
We have a great life now. Though my wife initially disliked my drinking, she slowly started liking that. I loved her more when I took drinks. I drink, I love and I laugh. Without drinking, our life would have been zero. That is why I say, you can't love or laugh if you don't drink. That again was some more wisdom !
A Spiritual Discourse !
Another much younger chap has a different outlook towards Alcohol. It is possible he is an inspired spirit or has borrowed his spiritual wisdom from somewhere. Whatever it be, his opinions make interesting copy.
All those who say Liquor is bad for health are just idiots. What is Liquor ? Alcohol. What is Alcohol ? An Antiseptic and Anti-Bacterial. You Medical people use it for disinfection. That thing you rub on wounds to clean it and keep it healthy is the same stuff we drink, much more diluted. So it can't be good in one place and bad in another.
Liquor prevents infections. It also protects us from developing food poisoning. Even 'Heart Specialists' advice moderate amount of liquor. It is an appetizer, coolant and also causes a lot of urination. Thus it prevents kidney stones. Some people say drinking 3 -4 liters of water a day prevents kidney stones. I say rubbish, you just need a bottle of beer for that.
I asked him, "So what is your opinion about drinking and driving ? Is that good too ?". He replied with no hesitation, "No, not good, not good at all". Excited, I asked again, "So you agree drinking is bad ?". He was emphatic now, "Nonsense. I said, Drink, don't Drive !"
I just swallowed all this wisdom because this chap was in high spirits and I couldn't have won arguing !
Bar Boys !
We held a small get together of our friends from Bellary Medical College during last Christmas vacation. It was a crowd of mostly those living in and around Mangalore. The whole affair was in really 'High Spirits'. And we called the event "Bellary Alumni Reunion". As it turned out, the abbreviation was a deliciously coined, "BAR" !
|The 'BAR' Boys !|
The Joke is on !
There are millions of jokes about the Liquor and the watering holes. Some very innovative ones need a mention here. Those that have impressed me and entertained me.
What is common between a Bar and a Bra ? Both drive men mad when open !
The latest theory is that drinking beer turns men into women. To test the finding, 100 men were fed 6 pints of beer each. It was then observed that all the men gained weight, talked excessively without making sense, became overly emotional, couldn't drive, failed to think rationally, argued over nothing, and refused to apologize when wrong !
I should not be considered a Male Chauvinist. These are old jokes. But there is something about Alcohol and men. I really have seen them become emotional, lovable and even magnanimous. But the best case was a very close friend who was a very careless chap in day to day life. Very unorganized and loose talking guy, he became too gentlemanly once the 'Spirit' took him over. He was one of the best behaved guys I have seen when drunk !
The Magnanimous Classmate !
Long ago, perhaps in 1990, a classmate in Bellary made an unbelievable offer to me. Sitting in a popular joint that also had an attached bar; this chap pleaded with me, "Hey Shenoy, please man, please. Just take one glass of beer. Just one for me and our friendship. I will buy you whatever food you want. I will also sponsor a cinema tonight. And I will give you hundred bucks. Just one glass...".
I politely but firmly refused his magnanimity. Cursing me to eternal agony in hell, he left me to join his group of friends at the other corner of the restaurant. Later I was told by a common friend that this chap had a bet for a thousand bucks. He had challenged another friend that he'd get Shenoy drunk. A nonspiritual Imbecile Shenoy !
Well, after dwelling at length on 'Jevan' in my last post, I had to leave to catch up with my grub. No such luck here. I am not going to a watering hole or Bar for my fill. Especially at 1:30 AM. I get drunk on other things. Things like Cricket, Cinema, Comedy and of course boring people with my blogs. Can't help, Like Alcoholism, Old Habits die hard !