It’s been over five months since I’ve reformed myself and taken up this new found hobby. And to be honest, I did doubt myself initially as I wasn’t sure how long this last would. But fast forward to the present and I’m still a believer! My friends and coworkers seem to accept me now, and don’t think I’m all that loco. Although they still have to keep up with my many antiques while they continue to go their own ways. And yes, I’m still writing about my new found appreciation for whisky and no I haven’t joined some crazy cuckoo cult!
Walking down this path, I’ve come in contact with some great people who share the same interests as I; weird thing is a few of them were people I knew but never had a hint on how they viewed the spirit. I’ve also come to realize that relishing whisky is not only about taste or the resulting high that is associated with it. It is far beyond that, more like a symbiotic composition of all the five senses that lingers on for a span of time (the sixth sense).
Starting from the weighty flat glass, the bouquet of aromas that flood the room when you pop the top of the bottle, the unmistakable glug as the liquid is forced into the neck out into the tumbler. Or the golden viscous splash and the resulting swirl as the spirit flows around the crystal, or even the first sensation when lip meets nip, the overwhelming rush of flavors as the liquid waltzes in and around the mouth and the warm feel as it flows down the throat. Splendor and awe continues to loiter on with each breath bringing in more flavor infused air borne particles to be picked up by the nose and tongue. The involvement is next to divine and each sip has the potential to exhibit something new and sometimes unknown.
So looking back the last quarter or so, my journey has been quite an adventure. It’s been sinusoidal, with a fair share of ups and downs; witnessing some amusing moments and also those that were a wee bit frustrating!
In terms of habit and mode of delivery, I’ve moved away from the usual soda, coke and/or water to the more pleasurable, untainted natural form. I’ve become so involved that I for one sincerely find it so much of a sin, and sometimes hurtful when people treat this spirit differently. I’m sure this might just be me being too paranoid or being too caught up, but I would really like people for once just to sit down and spend some time knowing their whisky.
To give you an example of how infatuated I’ve become; if you were to sit across the bar, you’d see this somewhat stout build of a person pouring a dram into his flat glass with his tongue sticking out of the corners careful not to waste a drop. And that’s not it, you would see this individual sniffing his flat glass time and time again like someone with a fetish, sneaking in an exultant smile and sipping bits and pieces each followed by bursts of joy splashed across his face! Yes that’s me and it’s humorous to see the waiters and servitors sneaking peeks at me doing just this while they go about their business. Most folks here find it so unworldly that whisky can be sipped neat and slowly when the norm is to shoot it down with a couple of shot glasses!
Newton’s third law in effect: If I’ve scorned others for the way they down their whisky, I am sure to be scorned myself! Although not for the right reasons (at least not to me), I’ve received a lot of skepticism for my new found endeavors. Most people find this fixation to be a deviation from normalcy; an ‘outlawish’ routine and a destructive behavior. Such is liquor a taboo, that I myself was mortified at first to pen a thought or two. The stigma left me in No-man’s land and I was divided between whether to venture into this unknown, frowned upon territory or stay locked up inside closed doors. What would my family, friends and peers think? A drunkard? A white collared man heading down the pathway of a suicidal vagabond!?
On numerous occasions I’ve had discussions, heated banters, and scriptures hurled; add to that the wrath of relatives with eyebrows pitched down and canines lunged forward. I usually counter such situations by playing a song from the 80s in my head with the thought of what next I might blog. And while these words continue to be blown across my face, I would step up my delusions to experience bliss; like a child, I would play with my toy car, humming the roar of its engine while I drove it around the corners of my house. The only issue was to snap out of the dream at the exact moment the attack ended; else it would appear to seem rather rude.
So am I right in thinking people could be this ignorant? To be honest, you really can’t justify my stand or those who stand against me.
Society, to me has really not been exposed to the whisky culture I’m trying to discover and preach, and my generation and generations before and after have only seen cheap liquor, liver cirrhosis and alcoholism. I remember as a child, I would clip my nose and gulp down those awkward medicines in the hope of evading those foul flavors, a similar analogy to quite a majority of folks who ‘tend’ to enjoy their liquor and end up giving it a bad name!
Drinking in India is spelt as B-I-N-G-E, and is usually the path taken to drown sorrows, joy, pain and boredom. What started as something cool during ones’ late adolescent-early adult years’ really didn’t mature but rather got vague with bad company and poor self-control. Add to this a pinch of poverty, or an abundance of money, ignorance, and a lack of resources and voila! Addiction! Besides, when you have scores of individuals standing in long queues at the liquor store, it is but natural that society would tend to associate liquor with domestic violence, bankruptcy and addiction. Certainly a catch 22!
Mind you, the thoughts expressed here are my own and can be graphic, candid and hurtful to some. The intention is not to be indignant, but to raise awareness that sipping alcohol responsibly can be truly an enjoyable, fun and intense experience; healthy too! It just requires a bit of curiosity, avid reading, self-control and a tulip shaped glass!