There are some deeply tragic occurrences that engage and enrage me on a very personal level. For example, wet socks. But what got to me recently was a move so senseless, so unexpected and so absolutely ridiculous that it makes me want to stab all and sundry with a dagger fashioned from the bones of the cutest LOLcats you’ve ever seen.
You know what I’m talking about. Simi Garewal is back on TV.
OK no, scratch that. While Simi’s resurgence may be attributed to fearsome ambition and a private cryogenic facility, it’s hard to find a basis for the Maharashtra government’s attempts at pissing all over our bar stools.
It began with a 40-60% liquor hike and was followed this week by the raising of the minimum drinking age (for hard liquor) to 25, because God forbid a 23-year-old gets drunk on whiskey and does something stupid, such as publicly admit his love for ‘Summer of ’69’.
At 26, I’m thankfully above the minimum drinking age. Even then, I technically need a permit and am not allowed to buy more than 1.5 litres of booze a week. For events that require copious amounts of alcohol, such as a party, or piloting a Kingfisher flight, I must notify the authorities well in advance and obtain special permission that is granted only after completion of a ritual virgin sacrifice, to be performed at counter no. 3 in the presence of ‘Thorwade saheb’ who is available only between 3.15 and 3.20 p.m on dates that are prime numbers.
To put things in perspective, the minimum age for consensual sex in India is 16, thus giving kids a headstart in the competitive MMS industry. It is actually easier for people to make little human beings, than it is to legally buy a drink. (Of course, to be able to afford that drink, one needs to sell the aforementioned little human)
It’s quite depressing. A bottle of Kingfisher at my seedy college bar now costs 180, while a Carlsberg costs 210. Remember, this is not a high-end establishment – we’re talking about a bar where the in-house entertainment involves throwing peanuts at the resident cockroaches.
People have already been forced to switch to cheaper brands such as Alcazar (Russian for “Distilled from the pus of Satan”) I mean if I wanted to drink like a hobo, I’d go back to college.
Also, as if dating wasn’t expensive enough already, now you have the added pleasure of paying for a political placebo. Having said that, it’s all worth it when towards the end of the night, she leans in close and looks up with those expectant eyes, and at that moment you just know, deep in your heart, that come what may, she will throw up on you.
While the reasoning behind a small hike would’ve been understandable (“Quick! The Centre’s looking! Stop having sex with builders and do something!”) the fact that we were hit by a 60% hike leads me to believe one of two things: Either our state is more broke than we’d previously imagined, and short of selling it to Mukesh Ambani as parking space, this was the only option available. Or the alcohol reserves of the world have suddenly run out, and we’re sourcing all we can from Charlie Sheen’s bloodstream.
These are tough times that demand sacrifice. The solution is right in front of us: A hunger strike, spearheaded by a man who is respected across the country, a man who has touched countless lives, a man often described by his followers as God – Dr. Vijay Mallya. I’m in. Let’s make it a BYOB (Bring Your Own BabyToSellForBooze)
(Note: This is my HT column dated 5th June 2011)