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Love, Vodka and Water

Date: 28-Jul-2020

Delhi:1990

“Who opened that bottle?”

Uncle had stopped in his tracks to ask this question. His voice was mixture of despair and unbelief. We were group of youngsters. Some married, some in love, others in support cast. It was a mixture of class fellows, immediate seniors and juniors. But, a very close-knit group.

We were visiting Delhi and were at the place of only girl of our group, our class fellow.  She had managed to marry sport star of our group, whose favourite past time till today remains chitrahaar.

It was evening time and all were in the party mood. Soon the bottles of scotch were out. Drinks were poured and glasses clinked. I declined the drink. I was a young man with a beating heart and high on emotions. Only a few days back I had decided not to be under the influence of liquor. I had made that decision under the influence a very good friend of fair gender.

All my friends respected my decision.

“Shall I pour a drink for you?” the one managing the bar asked me.

“No way.” I was sure.

“Good. We shall have more to ourselves.” I am sure that was meant more to instigate me rather than really being thankful.

“She is not even here” other one chipped in.

“It’s not about her being here or not” I was trying to sound almost superhuman.

“Don’t be such a drama, we won’t tell her.” It was almost in unison.

“No sirs. A promise is a promise.” Valiant me.

They respected my decision till the next round.

“You can have one” It was kind of suggestion.

“Nahi yaar.” This time my voice was not so convincing.

Even I was wondering if couple of drinks would tantamount to breach of promise. I had made the promise in Patiala on a working day. Now I was in Delhi on a vacation.

Though I could not trust my such close friends not to disclose my indulgence to her, it was their company that mattered to me more. They had supported me in all my adventures. And misadventures. How could I let them have such a good time and just sit watching.

They sensed the chink in my armoured facade. They knew me too well.

“What did you promise her?”  They were trying to help me.

“That I won’t have whiskey.”

“For how long? Any specific brand? Any cap on number of drinks?” So many helpful spirited souls.

“I said I won’t have whiskey.” I was trying to remember with a gleam of hope in my eyes and soul.

“That’s it? You wasted the whole evening on that promise? Don’t have whiskey. You can have vodka” simply brilliant!!

It was eureka moment for all. Suddenly the voltage of the evening hit the roof.

Vodka bottle was procured from Uncle’s open-for-all-stock.

I ceremoniously placed the bottle on the table. Poured a hard one to catch up with the others, delightfully added a slice of lemon and topped up with soda.

“Cheers” it sounded like a war cry.

Atmosphere was full of joy and camaraderie. I finished my drink and poured another one, surrounded by din of cheers.

It was at that moment that Uncle walked in. He stopped in his tracks, pointed at the vodka bottle and asked,“Who opened that bottle?”

Camaraderie ended.  All kept quiet and behaved as if question was not directed at them. I was the only one with clear drink in my glass, which made it clear that I shall provide answer to the query.

“Ummmmm...........me” lesser the words, lesser the damage.

“That was distilled water for my car battery. Now I will have to get another bottle.” He was laughing now. The laughter spread to the whole group almost instantaneously. I was the only one who was not laughing. 

I had to take whiskey to join the laughter.

Patiala: 2020

We were having drinks at a friend’s place. And there was Sunny (Name changed to protect identity) pouring vodka, adding lemon and soda. It was during his second drink that the host discovered that vodka bottle actually had water in it.

Déjà vu.

I am still trying to find out Sunny was drinking pegs of water under whose influence.

July 28, 2020.

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