Drinking And The Generation Gap


मुसलमान औ’ हिन्दू है दो, एक, मगर, उनका प्याला,
एक, मगर, उनका मदिरालय, एक, मगर, उनकी हाला,
दोनों रहते एक न जब तक मस्जिद मन्दिर में जाते,
बैर बढ़ाते मस्जिद मन्दिर मेल कराती मधुशाला!

What else can be a better way to start the topic, with other than the above stanza from the incredible poem “MADHUSHALA” by Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan.

I don’t think I can fully translate it into English right now due to my tiny understanding of it, surely I will update when some wise person explains it to me, but according to my small amount of knowledge(please correct me if I misunderstood using comments):

People following different religions get separated due to their believes, but Tavern does not differentiate and treats them equally“.



From the dungeons of memories, when elders used to come up with different names for the the same old yet invincible drink(essentially alcohol, wine etc.): The WINE. Every few weeks a new name was coined with different excuses but all in the same context: The WINE(beer was not so popular). These excuses, as I understood later, were just a way to nullify the arguments with the female members in the family or society. Back then alcohol was not as open as it is now a days; probably it was considered taboo or at least to females in almost every community. I still remember those frequent fights, almost every alternate day, between a married couple in the locality. Children were hapless seeing their parents fighting on the same thing every day.



Despite all these problems, it was quite fascinating for us to sit and observe the elders drink, eat and discuss. The elegance and the decorum that was maintained were among the most noticeable things. The way a glass was filled, the way they “Cheered” up their glasses and also the new member in the group, all of it. The lemon, the nuts and some other snack and also the jug filled with water. I always had an eye on the nuts. The way they talked to each other in between the drinks, the youngest in the group filling all the glasses again(a way of showing respect towards elders), the silent person in the group and their plans, everything seemed very interesting. The room used to get inundated with a different aroma all of a sudden. Many times they sat together either to celebrate or to solve a problem, which sometimes got fruitful too.



And the time!!! and it has changed now and so are the habits and perceptions. Going to temple or remembering God has become rare occasion. Drinking has become prevalent and happens without occasion. People sit together on drinks more often then going on a holiday or journey or adventure or even going to office together. Now its not possible to recreate the same environment again, but there are several thing that still have not changed, like the youngest(or the host) filling the glasses again for everyone. Also there is still that one person in the group who is silent. Generally it would be the non drinker. Now drinking is no more considered a taboo, does not matter what community or gender you belong to. The discussion are girlfriend and boyfriend oriented and of course the future life. Beer are the most common ones until somebody in the group is extremely rejoiced or resentful. Get to listen some music too and information on different drinks. But we still have those snacks which the non drinker eats up. Now used as a peripheral to reduce stress but helps only for 3-4 hours or at most a night and after that back to the same problem again.



Things and generations will keep changing but to sum up all I can say is again from MADHUSHALA:

अपने युग में सबको अनुपम ज्ञात हुई अपनी हाला,
अपने युग में सबको अदभुत ज्ञात हुआ अपना प्याला,
फिर भी वृद्धों से जब पूछा एक यही उत्तर पाया –
अब न रहे वे पीनेवाले, अब न रही वह मधुशाला!

which translates to something  like:

Everybody finds the wine in his time incomparable.
Everybody finds the wine-glass in his time fantastic.
But whenever I asked the old people, I got the same answer –
the drinkers like the ones in his times are there no more, no more is there a tavern similar to that used to be there in his time !

P.S. : “Rivals can sort out all glitches and friends can become BFF or lifetime rivals, just over a drink”.


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