Booze is banned here.ÿOfficially, that is. Unofficially the stuff literally pours down the streets – you name the poison and you’ll get it, albeit at a hefty price. To give you a general idea, a bottle of Red Label (ol man Walker is a big hit in the Gulf) costs a ridiculous *D 35 – *D 40, depending on the VASTA that your supplier commands. That’s in the region of Rs.5000/- to Rs.6000/- (that goes into the ‘ludicrous’ zone, waaay beyond ridiculous).ÿ Note : ‘Vasta’ is arabic for ‘influence’. NOTHING moves hereÿ without VASTA, so it’s a lot like India – makes you feel at home !!! Actually, people here are no different from people in any other part of the world. So what if the booze is expensive – there’s always hooch !!! Hooch is available at a comparatively cheap *D 8 to *D 10 a bottle (that’s around Rs.1200/- to Rs.1500/-). Here, the price depends more on your monthly offtake (it’s like a quantity discount) than the supplier’s vasta.
The supplier is invariably a Malayalee or a Goan, though assorted Sardars have moved in lately. The malayalee hooch is smooth, though flavourless (in fact smoother than the branded stuff you get in India). The Goan hooch is not as smooth, is more fruity in flavour (a la Feni) and you generally need at least a peg more (than the Mallu hooch) to get that ‘song on the lips and spring in the step’. Sardar’s booze is almost always a ‘Patiala’ – rough, vaguely flavoured and LOADED. My personal experiences with Surd Juice have been memorable for the wrong reasons – the blasted stuff hits you so late that you’ve had too much by then. And it hits you with such a vengeance that you’ll remember all your past sins, and maybe your forefathers’ sins too. Recommended dosage – 2 pegs for an adult male of average build(70 – 80 kg), taken SLOWWWLY over an hour or so. Anything more would mean that you need to be built like my landlord Happy Singh and/or need to be so used to the stuff that you’ll puke on a decent single malt. Caution: Even if you’re a ‘normally’ built adult male and stick to the recommended usage, a strip of Saridon under the pillow would help you get out of bed in the morning. It would also help to follow the normal precautions mentioned on the labels of mild insecticides – ‘if consumed accidentally, large doses of water are recommended’.
If I drink out you’ll need to get me an internet connection in jail from where I’ll have enough time to contribute.