mAvErIck spEAks

Sunday, June 05, 2005

We met each other…

It was just the old English saying, personified – stepping up in somebody’s shoes. But here, we’d exchanged shoes – not intentionally, just by the sheer twist times decided to bring on to our lives. This happened last night, and perhaps now we both know where the shoe pinches.

First a little backgrounder; I never liked my papa picking up his bottle. He isn’t regular with it but he is surely more than an occasional boozer. I detested the very sight of him when in the evenings, he cornered himself with his glass and a brooding face was all I could see. Not that he is a pessimist or whimsical but perhaps it's my perception that after sipping his ale, a man starts behaving hysterical. He never had a drinking problem and heaven forbids, he still enjoys his drink without any melodramatic effect added. It’s just that I have a problem with drunks….perhaps now I can’t heap all this hate on them. Last night changed everything.

It was an office party and I was expecting booze to flow free as my office colleagues are a bunch of ‘eat, drink and be merry’ guys. I always found my self an outsider in the group as I could never match their stamina of ‘ having fun phenomenon’. There was still some time in dinner to get served and guys had already started celebrations. Somebody suggested me to pick a beer for myself. As by the popular notion, drinking beer is not ‘so harmful’ and quite 'hep and cool'. Despite being a non believer on this theory, I picked one for myself. Knowing my limits, I presumed that I quite well know, ‘where to draw the line’. Sitting along with my seniors and being a part of a discussion ranging from films to business, from fast cars to space, I was already headed for a kick. For the first time, I considered my self in the group, as a member and comments of appreciation from my seniors on my knowledge about quite a few areas, was a pat on my back. My bottle was emptied and discussion was still on and dinner was no where at sight. I knew that now it was getting too much but the temptation was irresistible and ultimately I found my self giving in to it - after all that’s what men had been doing since ages (it’s the lamest excuse I have heard, ever).

I picked another beer, on the condition that a friend of mine will share it with me and won’t force me to drink all of it. And that was the start of it. This friend, of course was a man of his words. He did share with me but what he shared was a heady cocktail of beer, some vodka and some cold drink. For an almost teetotaler like me, it was tad too much. Finally by the time dinner was served, I was drop drunken and puked twice. Unable to eat anything, I managed to get back to cab, which dropped me home, and all I did was to puke all the way home, thinking that I would still be able to act sober before my maa - papa.

Very cautiously, I rang the door bell and as expected, maa opened the door. I managed to dodge her by not looking into her eyes and pretending that I was very tired and heading straight towards bed. But seemed papa sniffed it already. And the last nail in the coffin was when I ran towards bathroom to puke once again. They all got to know everything – that their son had returned drunken, that the one who claimed to remain a teetotaler all his life stumbled so early, that the one who detested drunkards, would sit along with them and share the same pitcher. But I must be thankful to the powers up there who bestowed ultra cool parents, like them. They neither shouted nor created any scene. Instead they helped me get a nice sleep.
All this while, I could just collect my remaining few drops of wisdom and feel that perhaps today papa must have seen how I felt when he boozed and I detested the very sight. And at the same time, I realized what papa must have undergone when he boozed. Last night we exchanged shoes and now I know where it pinches. The result of the whole exercise – I am never going to get in his shoes ever.