For a lot of people Mumbai is the place where dreams, both big and small, come true. Believe it or not, I also felt the same. As the years passed and as I aged with the city, something dawned. I was no longer the party, getting sloshed kind of woman I was a year back. The only question that kept looming in my head was – “Am I getting old?”
I must admit though; I do love the occasional drinking with good company (emphasizing more on it). But, I refuse to get wasted, and be tagged as the person who drinks like a fish. The thought of getting a seriously bad hangover gives me the creeps. I’ve had friends in the past who would drink their woes away, hopping from one bar to another, and finally unwinding at Marine Drive, the abode of many drunken stories. House parties were also a huge thing when we couldn’t afford expensive alcohol at fancy bars where pretty people would socialise and post drunk pictures on their Instagram Stories. But, house parties had a different charm altogether; something that you wouldn’t find in bars. Hanging out with your closed ones, drinking Old Monk and Coke, and if we were inspired enough we would chug it dry, all while listening to Bohemian music that added on to the jazzy vibe. Those were the days, I would say. I was part of that heavy drinking culture, but as the years passed by, I stopped feeling the need to get drunk to feel happy or elated or whatever you’d term the alcohol high. And I am just 24.
The closest of all my friends love to drink hard alcohol, get sloshed, and bear the hangover that’s bound to make their day worse the next day. I am no one to judge them, but I often wonder how they do it and not feel annoyed. I remember drinking like that when I had nothing to do or when I had to celebrate some occasion. But as you grow older, you realise that the moment you drink to ‘enjoy life’, you know that there’s something wrong with your life in general. But when you find yourself surrounded by people who make you happy without alcohol, you understand the true meaning of good company.
When my partner decided to abstain from drinking alcohol altogether, I joined him too, though not entirely. I would drink occasionally, but never to get drunk. Now, I savour the long finish of wine or whisky than swallow my drink to avoid the horrible taste like I used to. Call me old, but it’s something that comes when one ‘grows up’. The culture of drinking to get drunk has manifested in the lives of many Indians. It’s only when they’re drunk, they feel confident in ways their real-life wouldn’t permit. They feel, in a way, in control of their thoughts, even though sometimes it may lead to a waterfall of tears. Their alcohol-sunk avatar is the one they wish they could have been in real life – free, open, confident, and so on. I know this because I have gone through it. But, not anymore.
I’ve learnt to drink only when I crave it. Sometimes with great company. Sometimes with myself. Either way, my relationship with alcohol no longer involves getting sloshed or wasted. It’s more about enjoying reality and not fantasy.