The gentlemen on the barstools were discussing the etiquette of drinking, like white liquor before sundown, and Whiskey afterwards, and drinking alone versus imbibing with friends, and so on.
A Punjabi gentleman swore by Whiskey all day, saying that it’s sunset in some part of the world
Then the veteran tippler decided to grace us with his story, which was the final word on the subject
Let me recount his story in his own words
The veteran tipplers story
Those days I was a young sales representative, traveling all over north India, using a bus or shared taxi to save on my meagre tour allowance
I was traveling out from some small town, it was late afternoon, and I booked one seat in a Ambassador taxi, and settled down in the seat next to the driver, waiting for other passengers before the taxi would leave, putting my rucksack in the boot.
A prosperous looking Punjabi gentleman arrived with a briefcase, and said that he was in a hurry, and would I mind sharing the price of hiring the whole cab with him so that we could leave immediately?
I told him that I was in no hurry and would only pay for one seat
He countered with the offer that if I paid for two, he would pay for the other three.
I stuck to my guns.
He then offered that he will pay for four seats but I have to sit in the back with him.
I refused suspiciously, saying that I am comfortable where I am.
He then made an offer that I couldn’t refuse , that he would pay for the whole cab, but I have to share the back seat with him
Tempted, and realizing that I could overpower the elderly gentleman if he tried anything funny , I moved to the back seat and we started off.
By now it was getting dark
Just as we left the town, he asked the driver to stop the car
I looked at him warily, wondering what he was up to.
He asked the driver whether the street lights in the town were lit, and hearing an affirmative, proceeded to offer a small prayer, and then opened his briefcase to take out two glasses a bottle of whiskey , a water bottle and a packet of peanuts.
He then proceeded to pour two drinks and offered me one
He then explained his philosophy and the reason behind his actions.
He said that he never drinks before sundown, always after his evening prayer, and only whiskey.
Moreover he made it a point never to drink alone. As he was also against drunk driving he couldn’t offer the driver.
He really needed to get to the other town before next morning, and couldn’t miss his evening tipple either. Money wasn’t an issue, so he hired the vehicle to enjoy his sundowners with me and get to his destination in time.
He was a man of principle, and never broke his rules for drinking, though he never missed a day.
As he explained, drinking is a wonderful passion, as long as you maintain discipline