Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tipsy for Self Service

Ok, now that I have been taunted by Sayan, I will pick up the gauntlet.

First things first!

Do any of you, (pointing pointedly at Sayan) have any idea how many times I've had to carry the sorry drunk asses of my wingmates/buddies/women(muhuhahaha)/juniors, down to their beds just because they had no idea what to drink and how to drink it? Also the next morning (and by that I of course mean 3 p.m.) I get dazed requests from the said people begging me to tell them how one would go about bringing the incessant ringing/spinning tables to a halt.

Suffice to say, my 22 years of experience with alcohol and its peripherals have only brought me nothing but much praise and adulation from peers and juniors alike. And so when Sayan made a reference to me in one of his posts saying that he disagreed with me when I said "A man must know his alcohol" and then pointedly pointed at me, I understandably was filled with righteous indignation.

The knowing of one's alcohol not only constitutes the pseud putting about the bouquet and vintage of a wine or the maturity of a scotch. It involves being acquainted with the nuances of alcohol, like alcohol+ herbal inhalation = BAD idea. It also includes the ever relevant pearls of wisdom such as,

"Beer before liquor, you've never been sicker. Liquor before beer and you're in the clear."

Knowing that pickles and lemon get rid of your hangover the quickest. This when followed by one bottle of Bisleri (with some ORS if you can make the extra effort) ingested at room temperature. Too cold will only increase the ringing, not to mention give you a horrible case of brain-freeze. Not to forget the age old recipe of thair-saadam is what one should be having in case you do feel the need for solid food.

Also in my infinite wisdom I have compiled a little something something for you all.

Beer: Now, I have on many an occasion confidently declared with full conviction that Beer is the real man's drink and to this day I stand by my assertion. All testosterone aside, it really is the most firm yet gentle, confident yet understated and bitter-at-first-taste yet refreshing drink mankind has ever known.

First timers should definitely stay away from this drink as it will most likely put you off alcohol until you gather the fortitude to try it again. But for us college veterans there is nothing like a cold Sud to wash away the pains of Extractive Metallurgy or Power Electronics or whatever else one would consider painful. It's hard on your taste-buds but it's high can be likened to that of a Jeeves-esque butler who knocks politely at the door before coming in. 3 cold beers down, I challenge any of you to come to me and tell me you're not happy to be alive and that you don't love me.

The fact that one bottle costs anywhere between Rs.65 and 90 rarely deters a true beer lover such as myself, especially if I can crack it open while its still cold. Definitely my idea of a lifesaver.

Suggestions of course include the ol' Mallya brews (both premium and strong serve one well). For a light crisp beer with your meaty dinner I would suggest a Foster's (of which the entire continent of Australia has never heard of btw) and of course if you do happen to be in Bangalore please go out of your way to find yourself a really really cold bottle of Jaguar Winey Beer (It's Strong, it's fast - It's a different animal) the sweetness when served at 4 degree centigrade transforms into a beautiful punch on your tongue as well. An experience rarely felt with beer. A definite must have. And of course I would suggest Guinness Beer, which can be likened to a substantial English breakfast, but for that one would have to head to the bar at your nearest Hyatt/ Oberoi/or whatever so don't bother unless your dad/senior is footing the bill.

Vodka: Ye Olde Faithful indeed. This drink is the average Engineer's staple. I myself started off with a 90 of Romanov and haven't looked back ever since. (Wistful Sigh) This is definitely the drink I would ask any first timer to start off with. When mixed with the right mixer (see below) it can be a love-at-first-sight kinda thing.

The suggested drink in one's student budget is the sturdy White Mischief (which I would liken to a Hero Honda Splendour, dependable and mid-priced) at Rs. 5 a quart more than your Romanov, it does seem a bit steep but believe you me it packs in a punch that's well worth it. I have yet to come across a more aptly named concoction. The suggested mixer is Sprite or Cranberry juice (a little chick, but yummy nonetheless), 7up will do but is much too sweet for my liking.

For the more adventurous boys (and girls) out there I would personally recommend MGM Apple Vodka. I know the suggestion may seem very vain but believe me young 'uns when mixed with Limca this drink can make for a lip-smacking experience. Also, be sure to take a whiff of the brew before you pour, as the fragrance is distinctive and very pleasant. Priced in the same range as White Mischief, this drink is a must try and thanks to a certain somebody is one of the most popular guest gifts when I visit my pals in Blore/Hyderabad.

The more upmarket options will always exist and we will always lay lustful eyes upon them, however for the sake of your sanity and mine I will refrain from describing them in exquisite detail. However, this post would be incomplete without special mentions going out to Absolut Cranberry, and Smirnoff Orange Twist (Hubba hubba).

For Vodka and Rum I do have a couple of warnings in order. Unless you've been drinking for at least a year, do not and I repeat do NOT
1) Have them neat (i.e: without mixer and generous quantities thereof)
2) Shot them in any form (i.e: drink 300 ml in less than 10 minutes)

Unless you are a) Masochistic b) Emetophilic (love the act of regurgitation) c) Heartbroken. In case C you might want to avoid drinking on the hostel roof.

Whiskey: This drink is in my opinion the only competition offered to the divine drink that is Beer. Of late it has been wooing me with its firm grip of class and punch. And of course the fact that it tastes much more refined to a veteran drinker only helps its case. This is one of those rare drinks that is better enjoyed neat or on the rocks.

For brands in the student range I would suggest DSP Black, Peter Scot (which was my dad's staple for 15 years and by that very fact bears a huge stamp of respect) or Royal Stag, both fine blends with a great deal of panache and a smooth taste. I would recommend you pay the extra Rs.5 per quart and get yourself a DSP black if you're going in for a Director's Special as the difference is noticeable and my oh my is it worth the extra buck. There are of course the others such as 8PM and Antiquity (regular and blue) but they're just novelty items in my books.

I'd largely ignore Seagram's and 100 pipers.

The classy alternatives are always aplenty with this gorgeous drink. Right from the finely matured Johnny Walker Blue Label (Matured 25 years) which comes in a velvet line blue casing that makes you want to cradle it rather than drink it and retails for a cool 12 grand the last time I checked to the chic Black Dog with is named after a fly-fishing bait and not the canine, options abound. In the 12 years matured range I would suggest you try Johnny Walker Black Label (keep walking johnny boy), Chivas Regal and Black Dog. All fine blends with distinctive personalities.

And for the madly rich and heathen children I would recommend Scottish Highland Single Malts. The nature of the soil in the Highlands makes for some fine fine brewing and lends a peaty and gorgeous flavour to the brew. I have only tried a couple of brands but I would recommend them highly Glenfiddich and Loch Lomond Single Malt (yes, Captain Haddock's choice [grin])

Also, I must warn you. If I ever find any of you incompetent nincompoops mixing whiskey with anything other than water or at the most soda, I will personally come and open a can of whoopass that will make you want to squeal and go back to your mama while you're still smelling of booze. Comprende?

Rum: This can be likened to Md.Ali in the ring in his early days, quick brutal and no nonsense. At least until you wake up that is. Then your head will begin to ring like a republic day parade and every beam light will begin to look like the next supernova. When you have ingested rum in large quantities you'd do well to have good and kind wingmates who will bring you water. Else, be prepared to lie in your bed groaning and swearing you'll never drink again (until next weekend of course). Dark Rum is in my books the ultimate karmic bitchslap. If you have friends, you'll be ok, else muhuhahahahha.

That being said Old Monk and Khoday's XXX (whattaname!) will always own special places in many an engineer's heart. That would be because they misguidedly picked up Dark Rum on their first night and have been hooked to the knockout ever since. If you enjoy that sort of thing, I'd definitely recommend it.

However be warned, Dark Rum has the most distinctive and prominent effect on your breath of all the drinks. So if you plan to woo a chick after a peg, this one is NOT one I would recommend, because you would probably smell like one of those veshti wearing crotch scratching men you would rather avoid on a Chennai bus. Definitely an all boys drink. Avoid during Saarang,

White Rum however is another story all together. Bacardi and Coke is by far one of the most charming drinks I have ever had the good fortune of coming across. The vaguely coconuty aroma, the fine taste and the beautiful all encompassing cotton fuzz high makes for a highly recommended drink. That and the hangover isn't a karmic bitchslap. Ergo do try.

Brandy: Definitely a fringe drink but brandy with Appy was one of those accidental thursday night drinks that happened one fine night in the ninth wing and has been a fond favourite ever since. If you do get the chance to try (and by that I mean you should) do go ahead and indulge. I guarantee you won't regret it.

The right music is essential when you are drinking, if you were like me I would suggest Miles Davis ( "Kind of Blue" ), JJ Cale with Eric Clapton ( "Road to Escondido" ), Steely Dan and The Doors ( The Entire Discography ) starting of course with the inspirational "Riders on the Storm" this playlist is bound to make you feel classy and nostalgic and happy and cool and all those things alcohol is supposed to do to you. And in the right company, like my wingmates, can make for some truly memorable times.

I will stop here, not for the lack of things to say but because my fingers are aching and the effects of coffee are beginning to wear off. I do have some parting suggestions though. But if you ever do have any queries on what drink one must resort to for any occasion/affliction (Brandy with warm honey for a cold btw, and beer for fatigue), how much mixer to add (add mixer till the glass ceases to smell violently of the alcohol) or just want to hear some awesomely funny drinking stories do not hesitate to call me. But, remember, your booze is nothing without your buddy, so go get one or ten and get some drinking stories of your own. Remember that the joy of having a drink can and must be shared.

The drink itself however, is a different story.


"To alcohol... the cause of and solution to, all of man's problems."
- Homer J. Simpson

P.S: Kneel Sayan. Kneel.

Friday, July 20, 2007

31 Songs

Taking Ganja's cue I am now gonna be writing about the 31 songs that rocked my world to it's very foundations. "Rock out with your cock out" and a bag of chips. These are the songs that have nostalgia, brilliance and an undeniable sense of cool associated with them. The cool could be a laid back I'm-fuckin-cool cool or the bleedin'-solo-with-crotch-out-fuck-you cool. But the fact remains, that they are cool.

Song #17: Reelin' in the years
Artist: Steely Dan
Album: Can't Buy A Thrill.

This one falls smack in the middle of the two categories I mentioned earlier. It's a laid back bleedin' guitar solo that reduced His-Royal-Shredness The Divine Jimmy Page himself to his knees! Right from the very moment Elliot Randall picks up that guitar on a standard blues distortion patch he bends his way down the fretboard like there's not gonna be any tomorrow. Bends, pinches, blues scales and some really really smooth arppegio's. Everytime the guitar kicks in to the song it will make you want to make you S-C-R-E-A-M! Because fuck it's so full of the highest degree of pseud that it makes you ache in the pain of not being a God like said Mr.Randall.

Did I mention it also has like the coolest drum rolls. The kind that confuse you. Should I even try air-guitaring? Or should I be whacking the person next to me turning them into the high-hat at the end of groovy bar!?!?! FUCK I don't know, it's a dilemma I've faced since the first time I heard the song in a senior's room who was so enthralled by the band that he went on to write a brilliant tribute to the band on the college magazine.

And for the lyrics... makes a man weep. It's nostalgia packed into a neat little 4 and a half minute tracer bullet and aimed straight for the JJ Cale-wind-blowing-in-corridors-with-exam-the-next-day pleasure center of one's brain... scratch that... heart!

"Your everlasting summer you can see it fading fast,
So you grab a piece of something that you think is gonna last"


As the senior once wrote, now you really CAN by a thrill!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

There are times when I feel like just an empty little box. And the entire world feels like an accounting software from the early 80's. Essentially black with badly shaped figures moving around in a predetermined and contrived manner to create the illusion of novelty. Cold colour, like neon lights fill the empty space to give you the sense that the program has a purpose. A higher purpose than just to add a few figures up.

Sometimes I wonder how everybody doesn't see it. The contrived novelty of it all. I'm not saying its a bad thing nor am I being cynical. I'm just calling it the way it is. None of it seems to have a higher purpose. Flashy lights are just that and nothing else. But I guess I can't really tell you. Because this is the vestige of an entire arc of thought left-over from a stupor last night. I've pretty much forgotten myself, all I remember is thinking a lot about the glaring colours in the old accounting softwares of the 1980's and finding parallels to life.

I guess it was what it was. A forgotten thought that seemed profound at the time, but now seems like an incoherent garbled stream of thought.

I also remember thinking a lot about my late teens last night. Ages 15-18. I should use that quote from Simon and Garfunkel, but I won't. It was a strange time in my life and I don't think I'll ever be able to fully tell anyone about it. Simply because most of the time was a fuzz of growing up. Everything happened then. My life suddenly took shape and almost 90% of my identity was formed then.

But all that is irrelevant. That whole period has a particular feel to it. I don't quite know how to describe it, but I know it has to do with a mixture of west-coast rains, being alone and wheels on wet roads with friends that seemed like they would stick around forever. The cold wet air in my lungs. The orange streetlight on the main road of manipal. The characteristic deep dark grey of the skies mingled with darkened laterite rock and green moss. And shades of green, so many shades of green. If I close my eyes I can just see flashes of the place all around me. Manipal was beautiful.

And I remember wet roads a lot. I remember rains a lot. I remember that feeling of just entering your house just after a ride in the cold rain and toweling your head a lot. I remember being young, like the real deal young. Over-confident. In need of friends. And I found them too. And in those moments, in those days, I was "there".

No, I can't. I can't write about this. I know I've given you nothing in this post. But believe me when I tell you, my heart is bursting. I can't type anymore. Even though this part of my life is infinitely beautiful and reading about it would be so satisfying, I just can't.

I don't have the words. I'm sorry.

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