Saturday, August 29, 2009

High Spirits

Being a teetotaler, I always wonder what the hoopla surrounding getting drunk is. As a kid I watched the Telugu classic Devdas and could not for the life of me figure out why Devdas resorts to drinking in a self destructive attempt to forget Paro nor as a grown up could I understand why tons of liquors of all sorts get sold out in all kinds of brick & mortar and virtual stores surrounding me. Just the other day I was watching a realty 'event management' competition being aired on HGtv and noted with awe how Kim Kardashian's party that was being managed by an aspiring group of wannabe event managers was mainly focused on alcohol. The host actually went to the extent of saying that the hallmark of a well organised party is abundant spirits - the spirits that come in bottles and intoxicate us by the way.
I always proclaim about my addictive tendencies. The moment I read a book, I usually read a dozen in a month and the moment I gobble up an M&M it is usually a fist full following suit - so though I belong in the ultra-modern and progressive immigrant category, I never ventured into enhancing my spirits with the aid of spirits. Call it principle or being past prime (isn't entering 30s being past the official youth?)
but I remain a alcohol virgin if you discount the couple of times I swallowed the few drops of wine like it were some kind of acid, in an attempt to belong in the group of friends that I'd accompanied to the winery tours.

Growing up, liquor was pretty vile to me. We used to come back home from school by a three wheeled carriage called rickshaw that was pulled by a guy named Doctor. Yeah, Doctor. So Doctor was this typical labourer, riding a bunch of school kids back and forth from the school. Consuming arrack was characteristic to labourers. I always used to look for tell tale signs of intoxication when he used to come to pick us up though he was a really nice and always a sober person. Watching educative dramas on DD 8 was probably an influence but I used to freeze the moment our rickshaw passed through the arrack shop on the way back to home form school. Usually, I would find a guy eagerly consuming the evil potion and with my overactive imagination, spin a story about how he'd go home and beat his wife and kids up in the state of intoxication. Liquor -the bad, horrible liquor was the epitome of evil for a 10 year old back then - a couple of decades later, I see that the way I look at alcohol donned a humorous twist to itself, but the impact and the evil it comes with remains the same. When I first came to the United States, my hubby took me to a cruise party that was commemorative of a successful project at work. I met a young woman who'd talked to me for a good half hour - she looked normal to me - normally loud and enthusiastic. But it took me time to realise that this is a woman under the influence of alcohol and in realty, my husband filled me in, this woman is a reserved and quiet person. Just the other day while on a camping trip to Mendocino, when our group was awake past normal hours and creating slight noise, the camp patrol guys came up and reminded us that we need to keep our voices low as a courtesy to other campers. We apologised and obliged. When the guys told the same to a louder group that was camping opposite to us, a lady took offence and started hauling abuses at the poor guys. It was F@%(, after F*#( after - you get the idea, and unfortunately enough, the lady was drunk. Cops, apologies, cries and drama later, the group was allowed to stay in the camp site. Had she not been drunk, she'd have considered the request with dignity and abide by the rules of the land but it is sad how taking ourselves into a so called high can actually plummet us into a real bad low.

Spirits usually come in a package deal I observed. You buy one and you get being 'out of control', 'destructive', 'evil', 'out of better judgement' and "ill health" as gifts with purchase. I'd personally known of a common friend who lost his life to a drunken driver and heard stories about people who abused family and dwindled their earnings and savings in pursuit of high spirits. I don't give a spit in the toilet if it is social drinking or obsessive compulsive drinking - Alcohol in all forms and potency is evil spelt in another way. Don't we see the occasional celebrity mug shots in the DUI cases? How could you ever come to respect someone who can drink and drive and potentially jeopardize lives around them??

I don't know what it is about alcohol or any other substance abuse, but I do know that it is as bad as wars and weapons.