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THE LIQUID PATH

01 Dec

Funny-Drinking-2THE LIQIUID PATH

I feel that the idyllic memories of schooldays, the nostalgia for the carefree happy days of school, without worries stress and tension, are largely exaggerated, and fuelled by alcohol induced amnesia.

The horrors of homework, the trauma of tests, the torture of trigonometry, tremors of titration, frustrations of first love- who says school was tension free!

Real freedom happened in college. Free from the restrictive shackles of home, routine, uniforms, compulsory attendance and unwanted subjects; we were finally free to get an education, without the irksome interference of studies thrown in.

Sadistic school teachers were replaced by laissez faire lecturers, dull uniforms by cool casuals, lunches packed in Tiffin boxes by coffee and cutlets in the café, and the opposite sex was in the next seat, not the next school, to be glanced at through barred gates like zoo animals. This was bliss.

Of course there was a price to pay. After the comforts of home, hostel life was a glimpse into the rigors of real life. The less than hygienic common loos and mass produced bland mess fare for food was the price of freedom.

Then there was ragging. A rites of passage initiation ceremony harking back to our tribal past, meant to break the ice, forge bonds and make men out of boys. Well, it shattered the ice and all vestiges of diffidence and shyness, and turned us into scarred veterans if you escaped becoming nervous wrecks in the process.  The process involved ‘interactions’ with seniors, entertaining them and doing chores for them.

During one such interaction, the task set was to procure invigorating libation for these seniors extracted from Malt or Molasses. Ours was not to reason why, so, finances and directions being provided, a very nervous fresher – the tag we newbie initiates went under, I left on my quest.

In those days, such outlets for liquid refreshment in our capital city were strictly government controlled and few in number besides having early closing hours. The nearest to the University required changing buses, and standing in a long queue with the unwashed multitudes and a policeman keeping rioting at bay. I was a sheltered shy youth of 16, thin, bespectacled, with no knowledge of Hindi, the local language. Moreover, I was well below the drinking age, a teetotaler, law abiding goody goody boy, just out of school, whose experience of adventure was limited to the pages of the books I was addicted to. Having reached the dispenser of spirits near closing hours after seeking directions in atrocious Hindi from tough looking citizens, causing much mirth, I quailed at the prospect of the queue under the stern gaze of the law keepers. But the prospect of meeting my seniors empty handed spurred me on. I tried to wait with eyes downcast, hiding my face, avoiding the gaze of the policemen and onlookers, of whom I was certain someone  would know my parents and report back my extracurricular activities in college leading to prompt withdrawal from this brave new world.

Ultimately my turn came, and no age related question was raised either by the vendor of spirits or the guardians of the law. The transaction consisted of thrusting a bundle of currency through a grill and shouting” ‘Do Puri” – 2 whole- and 2 bottles of amber liquid was thrust out of the window. No package, carry bags or anything to disguise the merchandise.

Initial relief at completing my task without jail, exposure, bodily harm or mugging was replaced by the horror of having to carry 2 exposed bottles back in public transport under the gaze of potential informers or policemen or college authorities or anyone who could ruin my career character and reputation made me almost faint with fear. But having spent the money I had no option but run the gauntlet. Ulysses had it easy I thought, Homer made unnecessary fuss over his journey.

Wilting under the stares of the conductor and myriad co passengers, I embarked on the journey. Imagine the picture, a stripling youth, facial hair yet to appear, grasping 2 bottles of liquor for dear life, trying hard to look invisible, being jostled in a crowded bus, then creeping along the empty roads of the university, wishing he could melt into the ground.

The final stretch, through the college lawns to the hostel was pure purgatory, as I imagined every professors eyes boring into me, with disgrace expulsion and subsequent interview with my parents flashing before my eyes.

I reached the sanctuary of the seniors’ room without any such mishap and all but collapsed from the stress. The omnipotent seniors then started the rituals of libation after complaining of my tardiness, and as decorum demanded, I was asked,- “ A drink fresher?”  My instinct, indoctrination and intuition demanded I politely refuse, but the memory of what I had undergone to obtain this offering combined with the desperate need for a pick me up made me respond- “Yes Sir, thank you”  and proceeded to enjoy the fruit of my expedition.

That was the beginning of my liquid path, and I haven’t looked back since.

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11 responses to “THE LIQUID PATH

  1. Anonymous

    December 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Is it a narration or trying to show off command over English language? If it is for personal satisfaction well done, but if it is for a common man well I reserve my comments.

    Like

     
    • priyanka

      December 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Sounds like an attempt to retrospect , connect the dots as to how and why things happened. I would say a good attempt to connect with yourself , not sure about the readers though. Great choice of words and honest feelings shared

      Like

       
    • TheLastWord

      December 2, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      I found the post well written and enjoyable.

      I’m not sure why you are offended, Anonymous.

      Are we saying that narrations cannot be in proper, grammatically correct English?
      Does the common man not deserve good English? Or are you saying that the common man will not read good English? Do you consider yourself to be a common man? Are you saying that to reach the common man we must deliberately write in bad English?

      I suppose you won’t be bothering to read my blog too, then, Anonymous.

      Like

       
      • wiseguy from the east

        December 2, 2013 at 6:44 pm

        Not offended. Wondering what makes it more readable & accessible to more ppl. & im uncommon only to the extent of being bitten by d writing bug & addicted to reading just as u r

        Like

         
  2. priyanka

    December 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Sounds like an attempt to retrospect , connect the dots as to how and why things happened. I would say a good attempt to connect with yourself , not sure about the readers though. Great choice of words and honest feelings shared

    Like

     
    • wiseguy from the east

      December 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      thanx Priyanka.was mostly trying to be funny not erudite.lost readers do you think?thats fatal,as they are precious few anyway.total visits has crossed 1000 🙂 but not many likes followers or ratings.think ill do limerics next

      Like

       
  3. Shivdas Manikkan

    October 15, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Well written sir absolutely enjoyed it aptly captures the moment i.e the awkwardness, fear, embarrassment etc

    Like

     
  4. nileshginamdar

    March 6, 2016 at 7:00 am

    Ha ha ha. I could visualise your entire journey and rolled on the floor laughing. All’s well that ends with a peg of good spirits and laughter as accompaniment.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • wiseguy from the east

      March 6, 2016 at 9:04 am

      Glad I could make it vivid for you 😊 thank you. Try more stories I’m sure there’s plenty belly laughs waiting 😊 still on the liquid path and enjoying it all these years later 😀

      Liked by 1 person

       

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