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Christmas Gift

It’s been an eventful weekend. The boy’s friends flocked in from different parts of the country, to catch up and swig a few ones and check if his claims of a new girlfriend were right. Watching your significant other with other people is an interesting experience. Even more so when the people in question have known him longer, much much longer than you. But that’s not what this post is about.

On Friday night, high on Christmas Eve spirits, we sat exchanging ideas (me) and memories (the others). The conversations were flowing as was the alcohol. I’m normally a conservative drinker, if at all. I don’t go beyond a stipulated number and type of drinks. I pace them out and am keenly mindful of food intake and how the combination is affecting me. In a nutshell, I’m always in control and I like it that way. This is a great place to be in for most part and I generally advocate it as a cause.

However, it is an experience, a learning one (and a difficult lesson for some of us) to let go at least a bit and trust the other person. Drinking provides a prime example. I decided to chance it and push my boundaries a bit – Tequila, never the most prudent of drinks and in a thoroughly unconservative manner. We had a great evening and when we retired, we were all slightly unsteady on our feet but still standing. I wouldn’t have driven in that state but I would feel able to have a conversation. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so smug.

I awoke the next morning with a sharp, shooting pain just over my eye. I had thrown up at some point of time in the night (only slightly embarrassed…I did make it to the toilet, after all) and I figured the worst was out of my system. But when I tried to get up, I found myself heaving towards the toilet again. Retch after retch followed. At some point of time, I was given a drink of lemonade, which I threw up about ten minutes after ingesting. That was just the beginning.

An hour later, I was sicking up every sip of water I managed to down. Half an hour later, the shivers started and I had to huddle under a blanket. And a short way from there the stomach cramps began. For over seven hours from the time I awoke, I couldn’t keep any food or water down. I lost count of the number of times I threw up. At some point of time, I stopped running to the toilet as I couldn’t stand. A bucket had magically appeared by my side and it caught the contents of my tortured stomach.

It wasn’t till later in the evening, after several unsuccessful attempts to eat, two tablets, long naps interrupted by violent retching and cramps, that I regained some stability. I never actually passed out but I was too weak to get up or speak or even groan. So when the worst of it passed, it felt like I was coming back to life. And it was only then, I felt able to focus on the person who nursed me through it. My boyfriend known also as Mr.Everyday.

He brought me a bucket to throw up into. He kept me covered when I was shivering. He stroked my head to soothe my fevered tossing. He spoke to the doctor. He ran to the chemist (twice) for medicine and then again for the fruits that I felt like eating, later. He prodded me out of my sleep and forced water down my throat. He spoon-fed me soup, even as I sicked it all up. He watched me as I dozed, waiting in case I needed help getting up to retch again. He did all this by forfeiting the weekend’s plan with his guests. And spent the day instead, inside a stifling room on the one hot day in December, as I shivered.

Letting a guy, especially one that you’re romantically involved with, see you in a less-than-perfect state, is always a big deal for a woman. The resulting loss of mystique is a fear that dogs the best, most secure of us. What’s more, for our generation of Superwomen, letting ourselves be taken care of by *horrors* a man, is not a situation we come to, gracefully. But perhaps the next step in being secure in our independence is not needing to prove it at every tiny opportunity. And hence, by corollary, not feeling imperfect or weak if we let ourselves be taken care of, once in awhile. I would take care of him if he was unwell and I realize there is a certain ego issue in not allowing him the same.

There is much that we’ve been fighting over in the past few months, our many differences coming to the fore and our equally stubborn natures locking horns. And of course, post-mortem, it’s easy to say that those things are different and apart from a situation like this. But those are things that break a couple. And this is the kind of thing that really cements a relationship. All the sweet nothings, flowery words and romantic dates aside, an incident like this is real, tangible proof. He took care of me and he nursed me when I was sick. And for that, I hope I never forget how lucky I am, that he’s my Mr.Everyday.

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Manguide 6: Alcohol

Alcohol is like a man. In its many variations, delightful or otherwise, it mirrors the vagaries of my favorite vice. Here’s how.

Breezer – This is the boy you grew up with, the one who sat next to you in fourth grade and helped you with your homework. You don’t really stay friends (unless you are a part of Orkutoholics Anonymous) but if you bump into each other at a party and don’t have any other choices, he’ll do to while away the time.

Liquer – Sweet, comforting, ladylike, can this one be anything other than the gay guy? This is the snazzy, sharp-dressing man-loving man who’ll understand you better than any of your boyfriends ever will. He’ll even understand why you just have to rush through a fun lunch with him, when you spot one of his sex (especially a particularly rough one) at the bar.

Beer – This is your buddy. A guy, who even though he’s straight, you can lounge about with minus make-up and in your PJs. He’s comforting (as much as a straight guy can be, anyway), he makes you laugh, he won’t mind if you throw up occasionally. You can fall asleep next to him but you won’t be sleeping with him, if you get my drift. You’ll also never fall in love with him.

Wine – The charmer, the one who woos you with chocolates and poetry. He’s most likely to bring you flowers on a date and also why women love to be spooned. He’ll slip up on you covertly like a sudden waist-hug from the back or a kiss at the nape of your neck. If you’re going weak in the knees already, stay away from this one. What’s the catch? No matter how much time you spend with him, you’ll never be able to tell when the power balance shifts and exactly when you’ll be at his tender (and cruel) mercies. And if you aren’t careful, you’ll be the one waking up alone with a pounding headache.

Vodka – The party guy, the metrosexual man. He’s hip, he’s what you want to be seen with if you want to get with it. He’s dazzling and upbeat and high-voltage. He’ll also be heavy on your wallet and your head, the next day.

Whiskey – The older man, deep, slightly mystifying and occasionally scary. Only if your tastes run to that type.

Tequila – The Bad Boy. The guy every woman must date at least once in her lifetime. He’s rough, he’s bad news right from the start and he’s irresistible! Take a chance and ride with him at least one night of your life. You’ll wake up feeling like your head is split right in half and your insides are screaming to take off to different galaxies. But you’ll never forget the experience and all the other moments of life will seem like background music in comparison.

Rum – The man you’ll finally want to come home to after you’ve gone through the rest. He’s subtle, something you’ll mistake for weakness if you come to him too early. He’s potent, also sometimes misunderstood for roughness. But if you take it slow and easy, you’ll find he’s just as good with fruits and chocolate as he is with coke. And finally, he’s in a class of his own if you’ve gone far enough to get him on his own. Fall in love with him, he’ll be just the right mix of steadiness and adventure that makes a perfect man.

* But remember, metaphors apart, NEVER drink and drive. It’s plain stupid, no matter who you are, no matter who the guy is, no matter what the drink is.


A version of this appears on Yahoo! Real Beauty.


I ushered in the New Year at a hip party in a swank hotel. Multiple dance-floors, buffet dinner and unlimited alcohol. Most of the guests took the last part of that invitation seriously. Real serious. By 11pm, the open-air lawn bar was clean out of vodka, wine and Breezers. A few miserable looking beers lay around.

Cut to the dance floors. Plastic cups and glass bottles lay around in shards and shrapnels while busy, manic feet fueled by the former contents of those victuals kicked them about. Yes, alchohol can make Fred and Ginger Astairs out of anybody.

The mandatory visit to the washroom was an eye-opener or shall I say…breath-taking? It quite literally took my breath away. Now this is going to be disgusting but it must be said. Every alternate basin in the black-marble topped siding was swimming with the purged contents of people’s stomachs. The place was packed with the guests of Bacchus’s orgies. Svelte stick-model types swaying against wobbly tummies, heaving busts and straining tyres. Every one of them drunk, dead drunk.


A LBN-clad PYT (okay, okay that’s fashionasta-ese for “little black number-clad pretty young thing) tottered about on precarious wedge heels and laid a heavy hand on my shoulder to steady herself. Breathy voiced she mouthed…


Go, go, I told her and gave her my place in the line, all the while silently saying…

Anything, just so long as you don’t throw up on me!

And behind me, one hungover head was vomitting into the waste-basket, propped up by the trembly hands of another who’d had her puke-turn already. I have no doubt that the the men’s washroom was an equally sorry sight.

Outside however, I saw a girl being carried out by five people. In corners, heads were slumped, their re-bonded hair strands whipped across their boyfriends’ chests. On the dance floor, I was knocked over and stepped on by the high heels of more than one drunk diva. The last one on the floor at 4a.m. was a wild banshee, long hair all in disarray with stylishly lean arms flailing around madly. I would have been scared to be the one taking her home. Well, no wonder then that there wasn’t a date in sight.

I’ve seen this happen in a few parties earlier. In the cities, as the upper-crust brandishes more and more pocket-money and salary slips, the tastes turn dangerously indulgent as well. Add to that the double-edged sword of chauvinistic hypocrisy that dictates that the girls of the family be achievers and yet well-behaved and the symbols of the ‘pride of the family’. Put such an ’empowered’ female in a setting that gives her the same temptations without the scrutiny of parents, neighbors and other such moral custodians. What happens? She goes all out and gets drunk.

Of course I’m generalizing. None of the women in my group acted that way. Am I being a moral judge? Well…I’m being practical. I think these women are in even more danger than their less restrained counterparts. How can you subject a human being to temptation and expect them to resist it every single time? I’ve seen enough of my male friends in such states of inebriation that they are an embarrassment to everyone else around. And I’ve coped with it, overlooked their foibles and carried on like nothing happened. It happens, after all, doesn’t it? But the same may not be true of a female friend. If I saw a close girlfriend have one too many and start getting clingy with the men around, I’d be alarmed. And do something drastic like throw the bottle away and drag her out willy-nilly from the party. Because if I didn’t, she would be making things really, really difficult for herself.

No one treats a drunk woman the same way they treat a drunk man. With a man, the hangover the next morning is its own punishment. Can we truly say that the same is true for a woman?

And what’s worse, that peculiar breed called the Modern Woman…the one who prides herself on not caring two hoots about what the world thinks…is doing herself a grave disservice in this case. Even if matters naught what strangers think of her inebriatedness, the fact remains that she gives into indulgences more freely now than even her male counterparts might, in a defiant bid to be ‘better’. And intoxication is a dangerous thing when combined with that kind of one-upmanship.

But we shrug our shoulders and try to ignore her tempestous temperament as she lights up another one and downs her now-too-many-eth glass of vodka.


I actually wrote this post on the first day of the year before the Juhu molestation case hit headlines. It’s been in my Drafts section since then, waiting for polishing but I guess what happened says it all. I should probably add that I had a drink too so I’m certainly not saying that women shouldn’t drink. But empowerment may just be an illusion and the Modern Woman may be dreaming…or….worse, too drunk to realise she’s being done in. Do read also what she thinks of this.

Alcohol, arguments and men

Actually, having slept over my last post, I look at myself this morning with fresh perspective (and two hours of yoga). I realize that I’m essentially a logical, rational person. But I’m susceptible to certain rationale-altering vices. Namely, alcohol, arguments and men.

If I ever own a restaurant (which I highly doubt, I’m a terrible cook and hostess), I’ll probably call it ‘Alcohol and Arguments‘. Does that sound too much like the tagline of my favorite coffee shop? Well, mine will be stocked with plenty of books, newspapers and perhaps a terminal or two to access the blogsphere….all conducive to the second of my vices. Obviously there’d have to be both men and women coming in, else the idea wouldn’t work. It’s not too funny a thought, is it? The last man I voiced this to, found it extremely amusing.

To come back, it isn’t really all that odd, you know. Alcohol is a chemical that alters brain processes. Arguments stimulate the production of adrenalin, another chemical that can addle your brain. And men…ah men, men, men….at least the kind of men I’m usually drawn to and am always writing about….cause the production of several hormones (umm, adrenalin among others) that definitely have an effect on my generally smooth-functioning rational processes. All three in conjunction and we have a merry cocktail of mad chemicals. No wonder then, my relationships began with loads of fun (ah, bring on the wine!!!) and intellectual stimulation (oh well….arguments…) and end disastrously (umm, isn’t that always the case where men are concerned?). The combination is just too much for me to digest.

And hence I resolve to steer clear of my three vices, in the interest of upholding the dignity and intelligence quotient of my sisterhood. Alcohol is rather easy to abstain from….I’ve been on the wagon, reasonably so all this year (we’ll forget about the odd glass of wine or two). Arguments, not as easy, prone as I am to playing warrior-princess. But I’ve started my yoga again and am picking up my old threads of spirituality. Hence peace may reign as I quiet the cacaphony in my life. Men though……hmm, I just seem to have an affinity for trouble and men (troublesome men), don’t I?

At least I’ll try to avoid all three together. There ought to be a law. Alcohol has its statutories. Arguments are at least socially controlled. Men however, running loose all over the place, ought to come with a label, especially the intelligent ones…

Danger! The intelligence levels in this unit are above permissible levels of human female consumption and can be hazardous to mental well-being.

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