Friday, September 30, 2011


Let me at the outset say that the certified drowner of sorrows and the uplifter of spirits – alcohol, is a subject of personal informed choice. But a certain contradiction has been brewing in my head for days.

The recent point blank killing of a toll booth employee by a drunken youth stirred up terrifying images of Jessica Lall who was also killed for refusing to serve a drink. Tippling and temper do go hand in hand. A few swigs and voila, one is either all bindaas and euphoric or angry and irrational.

But the paradox is that there are innumerable liquor shops on one side of the highway, and cops waiting to pounce with the deadly breath analyzer on the other. News is that Pizza Hut outlets will soon offer beer and wine on their menu. Good. With fast-food outlets, pubs, and neighborhood liquor shops, all offering an array of intoxicants, every gulp in a public space is weighed with some sense of responsibility. Some recognize the fact yet some don’t.

Do not drink and drive says the sign board. The million dollar question is, “who then drives the car home?” Hire a driver you say. Well, while the sahib was guzzling away, what stops the driver from some merry making?

I wish to share an anecdote here. In an Emirates flight my fellow traveler was served unlimited drinks by a smiling air-hostess with all the professionalism at her disposal. The tipsy gentleman perhaps got sozzled after a few shots and in a fit of inebriation repeatedly winked at the air-hostess. As soon as the flight reached Mumbai he had to undergo an alcohol test. After testing positive he was handed over to CISF. Fine, the guy transgressed the line by a mile but why serve unlimited drinks in- flight?

Eight out of ten times, offensive behavior is attributed to in-flight alcohol consumption. It is like offering the traveler unlimited porn (American Airlines) and then expecting him to regard the woman next to him as a nun.
Imagine the air hostess asking, “Sir what will you have? Some coffee, tea, wine or porn?”

How many lone travelers would come up with, “I would prefer some lime juice. And only family channels for me sister.”

Air-France has an all male crew on duty in the first-class section when Dominique Strauss Kahn is travelling. Statements from Air-France said that this decision came after an intoxicated Kahn had propositioned several women crew members.

This inexplicable mindset cannot be attributed to illiteracy, unemployment, frustration or age. It transcends all barriers. Again some are responsible drinkers yet some aren’t.

According to an article in ET, a study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers analyzed preventable causes of death in the US and they found a mixed bag of results. First the good news. Tippling allegedly averted 26,000 deaths each year from heart attacks, diabetes and strokes. No, don’t go for that glass as yet. Flip the coin and the redemption becomes damnation. The same data was offset by 90,000 deaths due to liver diseases, accidents and other ill effects of liquor.
Dorothy Parker,  said, "I love to drink Martinis/Two at the very most/Three I am under the table/Four I am under the host." The key word seems to be moderation.
Dorothy Parker also said, “Drink and dance and laugh and die, Love the reeling midnight through, for tomorrow we shall all die”.
It makes sense but where, when and how much remains equally significant. When the ex IMF chief can transgress all lines, lesser mortals intoxicated with false notions of power have extra responsibility to drink but not get drunk.
But my question remains. Who steers the car away from the cops safely back home?


  1. The government was supposed to remove all unauthorized liquor stores that line the highway. But it will not happen anytime soon - why? because it enjoys the patronage of you know who.

    Agree certain specimens can't hold their drinks and make a spectacle of themselves but who is to blame? Do we all get sloshed when there is unlimited liquor on offer? Do we all go on a killing spree when we've had a drink too many?

    As adults are we not supposed to know where to draw the line? Then why blast the government for increasing the drinking age to 25?

  2. A beautiful post once again!!A very valid question'who will drive the car back'?

  3. It is definitely up to the individual...People should realize how much is too much..and its not just a matter of their lives...other people on the roads are also affected...May be a heavier and strict punishment when caught would be of some help...but they are released by just taking some money by the cops...its so easy for them...they fail to realize that its not just their own life they are playing with...But, I do have seen responsible drinkers..who don't drive after taking alcohol and ask someone else to drop them instead...We still have a long way to handle this problem effectively.

  4. i say save water drink WINE :)

    and which is this flight where a hostess asks for wine and porn .. I never sat on one of those :)

    here we go again the govt cant do any such thing as it makes a BIG BIG PROFIT from it .. its the same as smoking everyone knows it kills and others too yes govt wont stop as os much revenue is generated from it ..

    and drinking while driving or drive drunk is not good .. When we go out here t odrink it is made sure ONE of us will not drink ... we take it in turns .. its upto the individual how they decide.. its not fun anymore driving and then ending up killing someone or getting killed ...

    What the Govt needs to do is like HERE.. Sieze the vehicle and Crush it within 24 hours .. JOB DONE.. and the fine to the person .. Over the last 3 weeks I myself have siezed 4 cars and proper decent MERCS ... and the best way to hurt someone is VIA their POCKET.. it is true ...

    When the vehicle is siezed and crushed then they will realise .. But it has to be implemented knowing in india , it will pass but then that will only become a furthur way of making money by the cops ..


  5. Valid question...who will drive back home??? I must agree with you on the in- flight drinks. In certain Gulf sector flights i've travelled, the men remain with their glasses raised all the time:P But as individuals, we too have the responsibility of being under control...Good post!

  6. The board on the highway said "Cheers",
    The other me said something I could hear,
    While the board hardly made an impression,
    I wondered am I the ego or the vibration.

    Most of the times I do not have to make choices. I am so busy with my thoughts that I do not see what is there in offer.

    Your blog gives me another point to ponder. What makes a man choose between two things of similar significance ? Thinking . . . .

  7. Most of the state revenue comes from the liquor shop. They don’t care for unauthorized shops on the highway sides. Too much of alcohol attack on Central Nervous System and boom, hell breaks loose. What happened on toll booth brought the most terrifying shade of impression of alcohol. Celebration is cool but too much celebration is a subject of serious action.

  8. Superb read. Just loved it :)))

    USA sees many accidents under influence. Legal age for drinking is 21. Laws are very strict but yet people don't follow it. Funny to read about Kahn and serving porn

  9. Well.. now liquor and petrol costs the same.. so you should choose one.. either drink or drive...
    But still... the question remains valid "who will drive the car"

  10. an eye opener again collect the most relevant of data and facts and garnish them with the best of quotes and sprinkle a nice dose of sarcasm and we have a great mixture of something that would be as effective as the golden glass here!

    responsible drinking is the key but sadly everyone from the celebrities to the common man use the pretext of being tipsy to get away with anything!loved the read:-)

  11. Another great post, Alka. I loved the picture :)

    As for who will drive back " the one who had the least number of drinks" ;)

  12. hii

    interesting post and I agree with it!


  13. I was going to write about alcohol one of these days. Am glad that you did such a sensible post on this topic.

    Though my basic issue has been with the very use/abuse of alcohol, but I’ll not take this towards that as I agree it’s a person’s personal choice. Instead, just as you asked, after getting tipsy, who handles what and how. It’s not just about driving, but about one’s actions which one fails to have a hold on after getting intoxicated.

    Being from the med field, and reading about it day in and day out, I’ll use your space to spread some awareness and so I’ll just put some points forward. Regarding the good news about alcohol in limited quantity averting deaths from heart attacks, diabetes and strokes, yes, as per the epidemiological data, it does. Specially red wine (surely not the local ‘desi’). But those very persons are thus at a heightened risk of dying from alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic pancreatitis, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, alcohol-induced psychosis and a variety of cancers. Alcohol in fact, reduces ‘ischaemic’ strokes but increases ‘hemorrhagic’ strokes.

    It is not that, alcohol (in limited amounts) can be consumed as a medicine/prophylactic against heart attacks, diabetes and strokes. The reality is that the reduced incidence of these diseases is attributed to some indirect effects of alcohol on blood-lipids and platelets. So it is not that one can pick up a glass and say I’m preventing myself from heart attacks. Instead, one should rightly say, I prefer to have hepatitis rather than a heart attack.

    It is highly unfortunate that a resounding majority of doctors are alcoholics. I have been left aghast when someone in a party asked me “You don’t have alcohol ?? Then what sort of a doctor are you ???”

    And I don’t think anyone in the world consumes alcohol with its so-called benefits in mind. People just want to get a high. And they get that. And that’s what matters.

    As for me, my life has enough in it to catapult me into euphoria. I don’t need any artificial intoxicant to get me high. :-)

    And something I read a long time ago : “We drink to each other’s health… And spoil our own !!!”

    Sorry for the looong comment. :D

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  15. Well nice write up... which flight is that...??wine N porn ..Gross
    ..Now abt ..drunk driving as bick said.. there are laws an d people to Violate are there too..So in simple words .. every person He /she shld know the end results..
    Abt ..unlimited drinks during flight ..I have travelled too..they don't offer more then two..unless you keep asking and pay extra..But its not allowed in KLM, Lufthansa, Air France.. American Airlines.Domestic or international.. Rest I dunno ...
    To sum should be wise enough to handle what he or she is drinking rather then being a laughing stock in the crowd.

  16. Drinking has become a fashion statement and a status symbol. I remember reading that teens use most of their pocket money on drinks and the amount is considerable considering their pocket money size. And the less said about the older inebriated men, the better. With women competing to outdo their male counterparts in this department too, your question is valid -- who will drive back home?

  17. definitely 'moderation' is the word. no government or organization or law can help until the individuals themselves draw a line somewhere according to me.


  18. Some are responsible drinkers..some are not. But most people drink.. only to forget everything and become irresponsible. Thats when the trouble begins...

  19. “I drink to make other people more interesting.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway
    Then there are those (read Indians) who drink to make other people cringe before you!

  20. Hmmm strausskahn seems incapable of keeping his junior to himself... :-)

    As for who will drive the car ??
    Here's the kicker, a friend's husband recently got caught for dui in Mumbai and the mumbai police kept his license and registration and let him drive the car back home....Haha...

    I have no problem if people choose to get sloshed, when they start creating problems for others is when there's a problem...
    And yes the problems with alchohol far outnumber any miniscule benefits from doubt...

  21. Dont drink and drive has a minimum standard.So long as one drinks within limits--legal limits--there should not be a problem.The day we start to respect the laws and they start to implement the laws, the problem will get over by itself.

  22. I think the problem is the individual. No matters how many barriers we place, those who have to go overboard will stay do so. I don't blame the airlines, if they take back the free drinks then they will suffer in terms of number of passengers. Who does not know that drinking and driving and misbehaving are bad? Yet, who is to blame? The educated elite who indulge in such behavior, and they must be punished.

  23. Who will drive the car ??
    the question which hooked all the readers till the end.
    Lovely write up.
    Well I agree Moderation is must, and the bookmark of moderation totally depends on self-control.

  24. Never drive a car.
    This might be the most logical answer. What do you say?

  25. Purba...No, we all dont get sloshed but a few who do, thanks to the easy accessibility are a nuisance on the roads.


    @Rahul...Thank you for reading.

  26. are so right Bikram. Unless there is fear of law nothing works.


    @Kirti..Great verse.

  27. @Prateek...yes the govt is earning good revenue and the cops are having atippling good time too...but too many road accidents.

    @A....I am glad u kiled it.

    @Madhulika...U r so rt. It has to be either drink or drive.

  28. @Suruchi...I am glad u liked it. :)

    @Rachna...Yup, very apt,the least tipsy guy drives.


  29. have put it so nicely....Drinking has become fashionable and most start due to peer pressure..Thanks for sharing all the information.
    @Subtlescribbler....Moderation is perhaps the key word.

    @Harman...American Airlines...

  30. It has to be the personal choice of the person who is drinking! Unfortunately, responsible drinking has not been holed and drilled into most of the minds!
    With the likes of devdas and Dev-d's who drink to drown their sorrow to the ones who are at a party and who love to down some free beers, people even though have been told by various ad's, do not realise the importance of responsible drinking and not driving after being sloshed.
    There was a Ad by Blenders I think, where they show that amongst a group of friends who are out partying they pick up straws to delegate the driver.
    The the best thing being that even though the friend is disappointed at not being able to drink, he realises that it is more important to have fun and have a life than getting killed because of being drunk.

    In our case, one of our friend normally is a teetotaler and he or she has to responsibility of driving us around!

    But I am glad that you took this up! :)

  31. @Kirti...Yes dear. public transport is the answer.

    @Sakshi...You have raised a valid point. In movies drinking and getting sozzled is funny if it is cool to create a scene.Responsible drinking is the key.

    @AAD...Thats an interesting one!

  32. I do agree with you but I reckon and it should be banned no matter what.

    Follow each other .

  33. Thankfully at least in our cities the concept of being driven home from the bar is getting popular. The law enforcers are doing their bit but it is left to the individual whether total abstinence is preferred to moderation

  34. Quite alarming are the facts that in the vicinity of most of the colleges and educational centres across the country lies the registered liquor shop. Is it some scientific way of educating young Indians?

    Weakest Link

  35. What would you like to have sir? Water, juice, wine or porn?? Haha ..LMAO!!
    When where and how much you consume alcohol is more important. And it comes with a lot of self-control. Can't imagine pizza hut starting to serve wine and beer..uske baad hitting the headlines with someone molesting or misbehaving with a woman!! And coming to driving after drinking should definitely be prohibited. When will there be more vigilance on these?

  36. @Rachit, Vyanktesh and Vaish...I know,lure people first and then fine them...It is a vicious cycle for those who cannot control themselves after a few gulps.
    Thanks or reading.

  37. Everything is good as long as it is done in moderation. The trouble is that most of us, loose our senses and end up doing the opposite.