About How I became a Drunken Duck

Milk was never my drink. Of course, as an infant when I was deprived of every thing which was remotely delicious and had to survive on that smelly-white-liquid, the ignorant child that I was, I had to drink it. But soon after I gained some sense, I shifted to better things.

The first sip of beer happened at the age of eight. We were at the officers’ mess and I was sitting in a room full of kids, a rickety television, and a VCP that had a wired remote control. The eldest kid had the remote in his hand and would skip the dialogues of “The Bridge on the River Kwai” to come to the action scenes. Bored by the bang-bang, I walked out searching for mother. Found father instead. He was seated, strategically, on a barstool next to the earthen pot with a sprawling palm plant. If father were not in the army, he would have been a teetotaler. Standing next to your commanding officer, without a glass in your hand, is harder than a civilian can imagine. So this was his strategy – sit next to a plant/washroom and at every possible opportunity toss some of the contents of your glass into the pot (flower or otherwise!)

On this particular evening, I spotted him deep in conversation with a colleague, nursing a half-full mug of forth in his hands. I walked up to him and whined about being bored and wanting to go home. Nothing happened. So I scratched his leg like an unrequited puppy. Still no attention. I raked my brains for something that would make him look at me. I dare not stomp my feet on the floor coz I clearly remembered the sharp slap that was placed on my cheek the last time I did that. On an impulse, I raised myself on my toes and made to grab the mug from his hands. To my surprise, father let it go with a sideways glance at me and a simple, “do not drop it on the floor.” Amazed and disappointed, I stood there. Tears brimming in my eyes, I looked down at my hands and saw golden liquid covered with froth. Looked up at father and saw him immersed in conversation again. I slowly raised the mug to my lips, hands shaking a little. First sip. Did not taste anything. I was simply scared. Father was right here and I was drinking out of his glass. Second sip was a mouth full. Face swollen like a balloon, I put the mug on the closest table and ran out.

Once I was outside in the lawn, I let the liquid go down my throat. It was bitter when I first ran my tongue around my mouth. But then, I tasted the aftertaste. The slightly dry, mildly bitter flavor was amazing. I liked this brew. I wanted more but damn, I was usually not so brave. This one time was a fluke.

I waited ten long years for the third sip. Really. And I waited much longer for a complete mug of beer. My own mug. That happened on one lazy April afternoon in the year 2004. But yes, it was worth the wait.

Cross-posted @ Making of a Geek

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