Archive for March, 2008

Drinking since ‘01

March 14, 2008 2 comments

For the last few months Sam had been thinking of how a chill Beer would taste? Those were the days when governments in different states seemed to be promoting Beer sales. Prices were perhaps all time low. I still remember, a strong beer of a premium brand would cost around Rs 35 or Rs 40 at that time. Sam had just joined an engineering college, witnessing a somewhat liberal life as compared to school days. New friends, new ambience and with around day scholars and hostellers, he was going through a sudden transition of life. So this way everything was favoring him to clink the glasses of beer and cherish the probably best invention of mankind till now.

One day, at last Sam recollected his guts and reached a wine shop. He tried hard to be confident to show the shop owner that how frequently he drank. He took a deep breath, broadened his chest and went to the counter and asked,” One bottle of beer please.”

Shopkeeper said,” Small or large?”

Sam took a pause and replied,” Large.” So what if this was the first time, he had to show that he was a veteran wino.

Another question came, “which beer?”

Sam thought a while and said,” Kingfisher!”

Till then beer used to be the only entity for him irrespective of any brand or any other alcohol type. Thanks to the fame and kudos earned by Vijay Mallya which helped him to answer quickly “which brand?”

Shopkeeper said,” strong or light?”

“Gschu… now what is this strong or light”, Sam whispered and gave a strange look to the shopkeeper. It took him few seconds to answer,” Strong.” No compromise with what he was trying to pretend. This might have definitely miffed the vendor.

Shopkeeper sniffed and asked while passing the beer bottle,” Want to drink here?”

Sam gave a sarcastic look and mumbled,” Does he think I will go home and drink this in my room?”
Obviously he could not go to home with beer and his friends either as this would defame his goody-goody image.

Sam answered the shopkeeper,” Yes, please open the bottle.”

He held the bottle with pride (like holding a shield or cup after winning any competition) and took it to his mouth. Before he could take the first sip, the smell forced him to remove the bottle from mouth. Immediately he thought that why he was dying to taste that filthy drink? How could someone drink it? But he had invested 40 bucks which was given to him for petrol. It was hard for him to waste the money and above all what would the guys around think that he could not drink even half of a bottle of beer.

He breath in, hold his breath and galloped 3-4 sips at one shot and asphyxiated himself, resulting a sudden burst out of his mouth ejecting all the contents of stomach.
It has been almost more than 7 years now when Sam first tasted a beer. Today he is sitting in a 5 star restaurant, not standing before a wine shop. He is again confident but in other sense. He knows that he had been occasionally drinking beer for the last few years and could easily digest at least 1 bottle. Though his newly married life has taken a toll over his bachelor life’s activities and reduced the liquor intake frequency to negligible, but still, can’t he digest a beer.

Sam calls a waiter and orders,” One Kingfisher Strong.”

Great, so there are still few things which have yet not changed during the last 7 years.
Waiter comes with a chill bottle and asks Sam to check the chillness. Sam Okays and waiter pours the beer in beer mug. Sam looks excited. After months he was going to have a beer. He decides to go for bottoms up. He holds his breath and closes his eyes. With a gush he empties entire mug. Sam opens his eyes. But what is this? He feels uneasiness, can easily sense storming feeling inside his stomach, a volcano about to erupt. In a jiffy he rushes to the restroom. Alas… great timing…there he enters and the incidence occurred 7 years ago repeats itself.

Time has really taken a full circle for Sam.


And here we go…. Shirdi

March 10, 2008 Leave a comment

7th March 2008, Friday, I was in hurry to finish off my work at the earliest so that I could leave for home by 5:00 pm. I had assumed there would be more workload on that day but I did not receive any major task to be completed until 4:00 pm. In a jiffy a thought it would be difficult for me to leave as per planned. But somehow I managed to shed my work to someone else (my boss… strange? ..someday will definitely teach you this trick) and reached home by 6 o’clock.

My wife had already reached home and was preparing food for journey. This is something one of the rarest (and obviously the best) advantage of getting married that you don’t have to look around to fill up your belly all the time. But as it is said, nothing comes free of cost. So here also you have to pay for this. Apart from monetary and materialistic things, you have to put up brilliance performance where ever you are expected to do so from your wife. And I believe till now I have been doing this job fair enough.

We had booked a Shirdi tour package and Volvo was supposed to pick us from our apartment only (wait wait…no VIP treatment… just our apartment is situated on the highway). At scheduled time we stepped aboard. We had got the back most seats, so we had a bit idea that it won’t be a very comfortable journey. But later we found that it was definitely not going to be a comfortable journey. Bus engine was just beneath our seats and above all there was some problem with the floor mats as we could as the heat radiated by the floor (because of Engine) was enough to sweat us in AC Volvo. Without pushback chair and tremendous heat, we were not able to sleep for the entire 13 hrs journey but we really enjoyed that also.

Around 9 o’clock morning we got down at the hotel and started for Sai Baba’s Darshan at around 10 o’clock. Temple was at the walking distance from our hotel so we started walking. Before we got to temple, a person came to us created an ambience of topsy and turvy. He made us to realize (he had surely gone through some Marketing lessons from Philip Kotler) that we were getting late for Darshan and beyond that we had yet not bought Prasada. He immediately guided us to his own shop and sold us Prasada worth rupees 300 (which could hardly cost rupees 50). I could not question him about the price (may be because of fear of making God angry over being pinchpenny) and gave him money heavy heartedly. For a moment I was upset that someone cheated upon me and I knew that I was being cheated upon. Later I noticed the same story getting repeated with different people. That was enough to pacify myself. I thought even such holy and divine places have not been able to remain untouched of wickedness and treachery. Some shop keepers and guides resorted to the worst flattery and chicanery to win the job.

After all these hustle and bustle we got queued up for Darshan. It was a long-long queue with so many (6-7) turnarounds in one hall and there were 2-3 such halls. Since the line was continuously moving and everybody was chanting so standing there for 2 hours passed very easily. Then there was a moment for which we were having difficult time for the last 16-18 hours. We were standing before the beautiful, grand and divine idol of Baba sitting on a beautiful gem studded throne of gold. Within few second we forgot the tiresome and painful journey. We were standing mesmerized and none of us (I and my wife) was willing to move. Later I noticed someone was pulling me back holding my shoulder. He was a security guard on his duty ushering the crowd so as to avoid over accumulation at one place.

Finally we came out of the temple with the memories of an eventful Darshan of Sai Baba and felt like really blessed. That was our first visit to Shirdi and after marriage, first visit to a shrine.

Categories: Travel