Tuesday, May 12, 2020

A tipsy tale

Why are you drinking? Asked society
So that I may forget, replied the tippler
Forget what? Inquired the society
Forget that I am ashamed, confessed the tippler
Ashamed of what?
Ashamed of failing to fetch an e-token!

Corona besides casting its web on business and industry has also de-railed the survival plans of society.  The section that is now a harassed lot is the drinking community.  Each state in India is locked down and the systematic closure of shops and establishments has also resulted in closure of liquor vends.  Whether it is beer, wine or IMFL, entire chain of stores have been closed down for over a month.  No reasons have been assigned for such a closure.

State Governments that are already pushed to the edge, making arrangements for C19 evacuation and rescue plans for its citizens are finding themselves further starved of revenue accruing out of sale of liquor.  States such as Kerala that heavily rely on the liquor earnings to fund their budget are stretched beyond limits.  It has been making fervent efforts to find a way out of this deadlock.  However elected rule makers have their way when it comes to playing with sentiments of their drink loving public.  Keep them dry till blood flow out instead of tears, drinking or otherwise.

Tipplers have been made butt of the joke in several societies.  While teetotalers enjoy every bit of struggle faced by the drinking fraternity, the joy mostly seems sadistic to a tippler.  Drinking gentlemen or ladies would never understand why a teetotaler draws such pleasure out of the thirst for a drink of a tippler.  It is perhaps to do with the ills alcohol brings with it, so say the naysayers. 

However one fails to understand the link between Covid Virus and alcohol.  While repeatedly alcohol has been stressed as an agent to be used to ward away the virus at least through liberal use of hand sanitizers, for a tippler nothing seems better than few gulps of alcohol to make up his day.

Liquor is a great liberator.  It also is perhaps that only true friend for a drinker in times of sorrow and depression.  Can there be more depressing a time than Covid times?  And here administrators have flashed their pens to slash away any hopes a tippler could have had to beat these hard times.  Ask a tippler who is a fool, he would reply, teetotaler; ask a teetotaler who is a fool? He would reply, a tippler.  Well, a tippler has surely been made a big fool in Covid times.

One may ask who contributes more to economy during times of crisis, a teetotaler tax paying citizen may say, Me! I contribute to the nation by paying taxes and also to relief funds, a tippler? A tax paying tippler?  Well, at least a tippler from New Delhi would say, me. One gave out such an analogy recently:

A teetotaler donated RS.500 to relief fund and a drinker bought alcohol worth Rs.500. Who contributes more to the nation?
On alcohol, total taxes (excise and GST) adds about 72% of the MRP. So when a drinker pays Rs.500, Rs.360 goes to the state exchequer.  On the other hand if a teetotaler makes a donation, he excpects a 30% rebate and lands up earning back Rs.150, in effect making a contribution of only Rs.350. Now after imposition of a 70% additional Corona tax in a state like Delhi, imagine the big contribution a tippler makes to the nation!

An angered activist tippler recently urged upon entire nation to give up alcohol so that governments learn a lesson from its efforts to chain down tipplers to their homes.  It was later learnt that he was checking out videos on you tube in how make heady brew at home.  Someone discovered cartons of decaying fruits behind his house.  In some place people were found sipping hand sanitizers! Even teetotalers in some nations were sipping industrial alcohol, not to get heady but they believed alcohol kills Covid 19!

Coming back to tipsy days.  Rich or poor, educated or illiterate, it is a pity the elected governments reign down and kick at the softest soft of a hapless tippler, especially in times of crisis.  Times when lovers are forbidden from showing their in physical terms, alcohol was perhaps the only leveler that could have saved them from drowning in a sea of sorrow.

Perhaps happy days will be here again, tipsy need not turn gypsy, searching for that elusive peg of high spirits.  What is a nation without spirited citizens?  Ask Russia, ask the most evolved and developed nations, they would never restrict sale of liquor to the masses.  Democracy is surely for those who believe in getting their due share without endlessly tapping on their mobile handsets to get an online liquor token or standing in huge queues made out of artificially inflating the length to show tipplers are losers.

It never is so.  Drinking and drinking responsibility should be the preserve of the evolved.  Whether it is water or liquor, value of every drop should be cherished with freedom.

Festival of letters

 #sahityaakademi Festival of Letters Festival is a celebration that is inclusive and brings about a sense of joy in participation, sharing...