Kisne Socha Tha Ek Din Aisa Bhi Aayega.. Ki Ek Din Desh Ke Bewda ECONOMY Bachayenge!
- One for the Road..One for the Thodu (Gutter)?- meaning, “Have a drink for the road, and another drink to fall in the gutter?’ – a joke that is often said when its time to wind up after a few drinks. Aftermath of 4 May saw Bunch of Tipplers ‘Drunk as a Skunk’ (Extremely Intoxicated) – but after nearly 40 days gap? Kisne Socha Tha Ek Din Aisa Bhi Aayega.. Ki Ek Din Desh Ke Bewda ECONOMY Bachayenge!
Mangaluru: Kisne Socha Tha Ek Din Aisa Bhi Aayega.. Ki Ek Din Desh Ke Bewda ECONOMY Bachayenge! When a Drunkard falls, nobody will lift him, but when the ECONOMY falls, only DRUNKARDS have to lift the Economy. Forget about the revenue brought for the economy in thousands of crores of rupees to the whole country through liquor sales on 4 May, but Karnataka alone earned Rs 45 crore on the opening day of liquor shops. Acha Din really came for the economy through Tipplers- who else could do it in a single day? And this is a fun article as to how some of the tipplers here and across the nation celebrated the opening of the liquor shops, some doing incredible dance moves, while others just getting knocked on to the floor?
Seeing fallen drunkards on the street of Mangaluru or elsewhere is not something new- but for the last six weeks when liquor shops were closed, such scenes of drunkards enjoying their good sleep on the concrete road or trying to crawl out of the Thodu (Gutter) was absent. But Monday, 4 May saw a large number of Tipplers welcome ‘relaxed’ lockdown 3.0 in high spirits, and a bunch of them were totally wasted/drunk. Forty days of social distancing training was clearly not enough to keep them away from the second-most important alcohol-based mixture being sold in the country. First of course is the hand sanitiser.
But it seems as if some of the state governments were closely watching people’s spending behaviour throughout the day, and hence have decided to squeeze their pockets- and bad news for tipplers, starting today, 5 May, prices on liquor were increased. Alcohol buffs forgot all social distancing rules and ran to their local liquor shops. ‘Coronavirus, who? They asked as it was finally time to get their hands on some corona beer instead. And how did some over-enthusiastic Indians celebrate? In their own fun way. Shopkeepers were equally happy, thrilled that customers graced their stores after nearly six weeks.
Two months back, Indians were introduced to the concept of social distancing, declared by experts as the only way to beat the novel coronavirus that had swiftly infiltrated our cities. For weeks, people were made to stay at home and the hell away from each other. In some cities, except Mangaluru, Cops wore ridiculous-looking corona-shaped helmets and put on street plays to demonstrate the new rules of social behaviour. The Delhi Police even paid an actor to dress up like Yamraj who went door to door, threatening people with their lives, if they didn’t practice social distancing.
But on Monday, even before the shops could raise shutters at 9 am, thirsty citizens rushed to stock up on booze from 8 am, standing in serpentine queues braving the May heat as if an apocalypse was here. If you have missed seeing large swathes of crowds, fed up with the empty, lonely streets that surround you during quarantine, Monday was a step towards ‘normalcy’ of some sort. As nothing brings men, including few women, to the yard like desi tharra. Remember how people junked all requests by Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking them not to stock up essentials after the lockdown was announced on 24 March? Something similar happened on Monday. Social distancing was at stake again, but in their defence drinkers club could argue “alcohol was non-essential”.
Shopkeepers had made markings on the roads to ensure the minimum distance between two people but to no avail. The gravity of the bottle of whiskey lying in the shop was too hard to resist for many, making them forget the 1-meter rule. But not all were running out of patience. There were some who had come prepared. For they knew the day would be long and hard, and a newspaper would give them good company in killing time. This past weekend was spent either trying to decipher the government’s convoluted directives about what relaxations would be allowed in what zone or envying people that happen to be in an area that would be granted the gift of alcohol. Jokes, memes and even negotiations immediately started to be exchanged between those from ‘green’ and ‘orange’ zones and the unlucky lot from the ‘red zone’.
Like one young girl tweeted, “I am just a red zone girl standing in front of an orange zone boy, asking him to please bring me some booze”. But finally, as it dawned on everyone that alcohol shops in all zones would be reopened, there was no stopping anyone from bolting out the door for an errand that did not involve buying groceries or medicines. For weeks, people had to ration whatever stock they had at home, pester friends, neighbours and local bootleggers, and try in vain to buy some alcohol in black. But now in Lockdown 3.0 (which almost sounds like a sequel of a bad movie), one can actually go buy a bottle over the counter without any begging, borrowing or stealing — how surreal. The day also saw people’s inboxes flood with WhatsApp forwards on India’s obsession with liquor. One of the messages jokingly celebrated the importance of drinkers, saying their role in supporting the economy will never be forgotten.
But ‘WhatsApp University’ is never just about exchanging harmless jokes. How could those with a political agenda let this opportunity pass? A message saying those who have turned up for liquor during the lockdown should be denied free ration also did the rounds. A Twitter post pegged sales for a Bengaluru liquor store at Rs 4 crore, expressing shock at the figure, considering the country was going through a financial crisis. Linking the liquor queues to the migrant crisis, Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhary tweeted saying why those migrants who could afford booze should not be made to pay rail fares for special trains running for migrants.
But no matter what, after nearly six weeks of dry days, tipplers who were waiting for this BIG day to arrive, did make the best use of 4 May- even though some abused it through their drunken behaviour. Still, for the other social drinkers, it was a relief after a prohibition-like life. Today, there are not many tipplers in the queue in front of the liquor stores in Mangaluru, probably most of them are sobering up from last night. Anyways, after those long dry days, finally the “Ache Din” did come to their rescue, to say “CHEERS” once again!