When I was small, I loved watching movies that had church weddings where the bride and the groom clink their wine glasses and share it with each other after exchanging their wedding vows. The bride is usually dressed in a beautiful white flowing gown and the groom in a well tailored suit. The bride looks ravishing and the groom, every bit the bride’s knight in shining armour. Well, now when I think of those scenes, I really don’t know whether it was the dark wine color or the sensually shaped glass that made me mimic the bride, as if I were holding a similar glass and taking small sips and enjoying them. Only in my case there was no groom as I was still going to school then and my glass used to either have water or bournvita. But all that mimicry was only until I got the drift of what drinking meant in the world that we live in. Now, that people are actually getting the idea of what my post is about, I am trying to ponder over what is this social drinking all about? And then I googled about social drinking and this is what I got,
“Social drinking” refers to casual drinking in a social setting WITHOUT an intent to get drunk. Good news is often celebrated by a group of people having a few drinks. For example, drinks may be served to “wet the baby’s head” in the celebration of a birth. Buying someone a drink is a gesture of goodwill. It may be an expression of gratitude, or it may mark the resolution of a dispute. (Source: wikipedia)
Until my high school and graduation, I never really attended any social occasion where drinks were served. Also, considering that I spent a considerable chunk of my life in a dry state, I was way far from them. It was only when I started working in Pune, I understood the concept of social drinking. I observed that every restaurant had a bar. People consume alcohol/liquor/hard drinks with food (with/without friends). Whenever my parents visited, I had to search for udupi outlets to have food together as udupi outlets dont serve liquor. I do not consume. But I am not against people who do. And neither do I have issues with joining people for lunch or dinner where liquor/alchohol is served, as long as I am not forced to. And coming to think of it, social drinking is not uncommon and not a taboo as it has been made out to be. Drinking over an occasion, celebrating it with champagne and relishing every good moment is a nice way of making an occasion memorable. As my fauji husband puts it, ““As long as the alcohol is enjoyed sip by sip and is not consumed in a way as if the world is going to end tomorrow, drinking don’t really harm”. True. No sin enjoying a chilled beer in the noon, or occasional late night pegs of scotch/whisky/rum etc…..when guests/officers/friends meet for a chat/lunch or dinner.
However, the line of sanity blurs when social drinking crosses over to getting drunk! Having attended many social evenings, parties and get-togethers, there have been those moments when people drink till they crawl into the other world that has no boundaries, no restrictions, no limits and no inhibitions. Trouble begins when the guard is let down unconsciously. And people end up blabbering/doing things they would not really want to do when sober. Washing dirty linen in public is just one to name. Then once sober, whoever remembers whatever happened. Nobody really wants to remember. And nobody bothers them too as certain memories become hard kept secrets and some fodder for gossip. But what comes later invariably leads to misunderstandings, broken friendships, incorrect judgment and hurt feelings.
Why do people want to get drunk? And one of the answers I got even without asking was, “You know, you need to do it sometimes! You need to lighten yourself up. You need to unburden your heart. You need to feel liberated at times!” Well, with no offence meant to people who consume, is getting sloshed or should I say, ‘the way’ to feel liberated is achieved by shouting/slurring/yelling/puking/crying/bitching/acting funny etc? And then regret the next day only to swear never to touch the ‘forbidden drink’ anymore?
And that brings me to the same fundamental question, “Why do people drink to get drunk?”. Well, some ‘get a high’ or rather, ‘get a kick’ when they get drunk. Maybe because one suddenly becomes bold and cares two hoots about what other people might think or react. Some feel ‘light and liberated’ when they are drunk. Some forget their worries when they are drunk, as they pour out their heart in the most incorrigible lingo. Some cry their heart out too. Some drink to run away from reality. Some drink because they have nothing else to do. And the reasons to get drunk do not end. And it dont matter as there is always some excuse to do so, anything but sane.
But then not forgetting to mention, very few or just a handful, drink to actually celebrate a moment knowing the way to enjoy their drink and still managing to keep their feet on the ground. Not that I am trying to shed poor light on the drinking aspect before people get judgemental about my post, I have seen those few handful who enjoy their drinks in the best way possible and talk sense with all manners and social etiquettes intact. And that is when I realized that some of the most productive, meaningful and sanest conversations happen over a couple of drinks. After all, what matters is the discipline one follows when no one is watching and the guts to take responsibility for one’s own actions. If only people knew the thin line of difference between social drinking and ‘drinking like a fish’, I believe people would be much more happier in their personal space too, without yearning for social occasions to become what they consciously don’t want to become, say things they wish they never said and do things they would dread doing even in their dreams.
P.S: Apologies if sentiments of my readers are hurt as I know drinking is a sensitive topic. However, to each his own. The above post is solely my perspective. Besides, I have my rights to feel what I feel and at the same time express the same, too.