Drinking on the Move: We Are Indians

New Delhi, June 4: Vikram and Mona Singh are a middle aged couple based in Delhi. Most weekend nights you are likely to find them at the sprawling India Gate lawns with a bunch of friends enjoying the bottle.

They carry liquor, and related paraphernalia from their home, in their vehicles. Once there they unload, turn on loud foot tapping music and shake  a leg or two.  This will go on till wee hours of the morning

Siblings Molly and Pintu have been social drinkers since they settled down in their respective professions, but had still not left their parental home. Now, many decades later, they still meet up in some restaurant or pub for an occasional swig.  Pintu discloses that their parents though fairly liberal, dislike drinking bouts. Molly’s spouse being a teetotaler drinking at home is not convenient. Naturally the duo takes the easy way out.

Evidently drinking at home is not quite the “In” thing in most Indian households, barring the ultra modern affluent ones of course. A handy option is a bar. But the flipside is that in most Indian bars, the lighting is dim, and the air-conditioning uncomfortably chilly.

This explains the evolution of a species known as Car Drinkers.  They can be further divided into   two: First, the wedding drinkers who bring up the rear of any stereotyped wedding procession.  As the procession winds its way through lanes and alleys, the car follows at a snail’s (or is it tortoise?) pace.

Finally when the coast is clear, the car’s occupants get out and go into a huddle; the rear of the vehicle flies open, revealing its contents. The men gulp down the drinks and rejoin the party of revelers.

The second category comprises what are known as Chicken point drinkers. Consider this scenario: It is evening time. The tipplers head towards a friendly-neighbourhood joint selling barbecue chicken and other scrumptious items. The coveted liquid is poured out in plastic cups, while the chicken tikkas are handed in through the window. The music is full blast. The guys sit in the dark eating and drinking. The flashing lights of the car stereo help to create the ambience of a nightclub.

Indians are gutsy enough to drink on trains even though it is prohibited on board. But again, in India Sab Chalta Hai (everything is okay).  Some board the trains with their own supplies. If you happen to be on a long haul in an AC compartment you could approach the coach attendant with your choices.

The fellow will efficiently procure the stuff, from any station with conveniently long stoppage time. If you have the adventurous streak in you, it may even be possible to sneak in some raw stuff which could then be rendered eatable in the pantry car. There is a price tag of course!!   You would need to bribe the pantry car boy with cash or liquid!

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