He exactly wasn’t one of those “brother from another mother” kind of friends to begin with. What passage of time does to some friendships that go on to weather many a storms is, it lets two dissimilar individuals iron out their differences, understand them and eventually go on to embrace these very ticks as unique traits that come together strangely as yangs to their yins. As far as the average kind of friendship goes, time does what a bottle does to oil and water within, keeps two people together, apart. Anyways to cut to the chase, we were the oil and water kind of friends if you hadn’t already caught the drift, who’ve been together in the same circle of friends since our puberty due to a lack of brighter social choices.
So one fine day this guy decides to hand his peanut sized testicles over in a ceremony in order to settle down (euphemism for a regular sex life). Another cheap wicket to matrimony. All the society has to do is, marinate a South Indian man just long enough in peer pressure sauce, for him to go grazing for his soulmate from the greener side of a sketchy matrimonial website. Category filters and algorithms later, voila, another match made in heaven!
Like with all unisons in god’s scheme of things that go on to distill into a higher cause some day, however insignificant, it was the turn of my charmless friendship to become something other than man hours and collective yawns let out. Finally I had a legitimate excuse to wear my well tailored suit that hadn’t seen the outside of my shelf in ages. And two, I get to kick-start the new year with a bachelor’s party. Small dividends from an otherwise defunct company!
There was just one minor glitch. Did I mention that I had to throw the said party? Well, not only did I have to, I also had to assimilate his friends in order to make the event a tad bit to his liking. So I got in touch with his Malayalam speaking friends who were so lame, that they made him seem like Ayn Rand. But it wasn’t much of a task to get them on board, for most of them took to the prospects of a social occasion where their presence wasn’t frowned upon, like drowning men to a floating plank. Just that all of them were Mallus and single malts weren’t cheap. So I made it a BYOD(Bring Your Own Drink) occasion, without the slightest inkling of what I was getting into.
We had convened at one of his mallu friend’s house. I was carrying a cheap blended whisky, cheaper than the Uber fare from my place. No way was I parting with my Macallan 18 or Laphroaig for that matter, with a bunch of random strangers from the back waters. An hour into the evening, turns out that I was the one with the most expensive liquor in the room. One guy had turned up with a tacky gin, named after a race horse. Another with a bottle of vodka that was shaped like a kinky device. And another with a dozen beers, that positively smelt like soiled diapers. An uninitiated passerby with unblocked nostrils would’ve pretty much pegged this shindig to be a red flag before a small scale bio war.I had front row seats to witness the “Mallu Alcohol Holding Ability” that had till now been a thing of urban legend to me.
Like a greenhorn lookng to flaunt before veterans, I was dealing my whisky in smalls, neat with a side of ice, in a tastefully crafted glass. The mallus sniffed my whisky and in an instance anointed it “too soft”. I condescended the barbarians under my breath, only to realize what wasn’t “soft”, a few moments later. The lids of their bottles opened and I instantly knew what apocalypse smelt like. Pungent fragrance filled the room that led to leaves withering from nearby plantation. Too bad, the patients needed to only be made unconscious, not dead. Else these fluids would have made for one helluva anesthesia.
In high spirits, 1.00 AM
It was seven hours from when we started, my limbs had turned numb with alcohol hopping down my veins. Life around had turned blithe, with the rest room across the hall taking forever to reach. I was in what I call “the state of Moon’s gravity”. Masculine pride of holding fort for seven whole alcohol soaked hours was plastered across my sweaty face. The three empty pints and a bottom shy whisky bottle, were testimony to my valor.
However my pride lasted only till my glance fell on the debauchery occupying the other end of the hall. Crisp and unscathed, the mallu gang looked like freshly minted notes. No bear sweats, no alcohol fatigue; infact to rub insult to disbelief one of the guys was performing push ups. What the fuck! Probably they’ve been preoccupied with the pubgrubs, I hopefully thought. I couldn’t sit there curious, I stumbled my way in a clumsy tangent to their end to reaffirm.
What I saw there, made me question everything I thought I had known about alcohol and its aftermath. Three mid sized men with receding hairline and a cherubic build had laid barren five whole bottles of vodka, gin, rum, brandy, petrol, phenol and what not. Not to mention the dozen pints of beer that had been collected aside with absolute disdain like matchless second fiddle. And the fact that they had the glow of a Pasteur post a successful exorcism, lighting up their faces minnowed me from a seasoned connoisseur to feel like a alcohol smitten post pubescent. I know, I know drinking is not about bouts, but the appreciation. Quality over quantity blah blah…but the fact that my hubris was reduced to peppermint size and handed over to me in a wrapper was as undeniable fact.
I tried blending in to salvage some pride, but I’m not sure if it’s the gin that smelt like thinner or the brandy that smelt like it was derived out of rusted battery, but my esophagus was giving out belches of denial. And I was sniffs away from making abstract art of vomit on the floor. So I had to pass. Pass out I did on something that resembled a sofa.
They were marathon runners, 6.00 AM
I woke up with my temple pounding with hangover pangs like it rightfully should. And guess what, my first sight wasn’t much different from my last. That of three mallu guys and my friend drinking in an unhurried fashion, like they had just begun. As I was slowly beginning to feel my pulse in strange places in my body, I promptly booked a cab as a raise of white flag, as I waved to them and their glasses scurrying out from there. As I stared at the sun on my way out, it dawned upon me that they were celestial beings with unimaginable prowess that were not to be messed with. This little nugget of emasculation would remain put in the deepest attics of my memory along with a few other humbling anecdotes that remain there in order for me to upkeep some ego in the outer world. In hindsight I would always know that It was a bad idea to drink with the dinosaurs.