My first contact with beer, or for that matter any sort of alcohol, was back in the monsoons of 2003. I had joined my B school and we were having the first ‘Mess party’. My small town tam brahm background had ensured that my idea of parties was limited to going out for chaat with my girl gang, or going to home birthday parties which were about cake cutting and then dancing to the latest Bollywood numbers for a while before it was 7 PM and time to go back home. It also involved wearing fairly nicer clothes than you did otherwise.
So this party was, as the name suggested, in our mess. It started at 9 PM, and the girls decided to walk in by 10 PM, another shocker for someone who kept 10 PM aside for sleep, reading, studies or at an odd time, movies. But nevertheless it seemed to make sense to stick to the group and so I did. When we walked in that night, to the sounds of the beats of whatever the in house DJ was playing – for the first time ever, I came face to face with beer, more like the pungent smell and also the impact of it – in the form of boys I had earlier met in class, rolling about on the ground. I was close to disgusted, but I felt better cause there was this girl who was worried her parents would make her quit the school of they saw this.
Then, time happened. And like every other hostel or B school. I got used to the golden liquid that everyone loved as chilled as possible and that miraculously made it easier to face the heat – weather wise and life wise. I officially took my first swig on a beach in Kovalam within 3 months of this party – and that was it. I called my mom to tell her about the blasphemy the very next day. But after that I pretty much never tried it again, though there were a few instances of basic cocktails in the next two years, but never beer.
Then again, the Dude happened in 2006 and beer was reintroduced to my life. And since then, there’s been no looking back. We might try the odd cocktail. We might have developed a love for scotch. But beer, it remains the first choice and the most comforting one. And it helps that it goes so well with all the usual fried junk, sitcoms that we binge on, funny movies and Bollywood music.
All that, and Saturday night. Which makes the day and timing of this post just perfect – right before I pick my first glass of chilled awesomeness for tonight.