It was a carefully planned operation. There were four of them (all men). They met up after a long time. Each had a tale to tell – of what one had been doing for the last eight years. So they decided to have a long, long conversation – stories, anecdotes, chance encounters, limericks, dirty jokes… the works. So they decided to go on a four-day drinking spree.
They booked a hotel room and paid extra to a waiter to be at their beck and call, 24-hours a day, in case they ran out of liquor, soda, cold drinks, water, ice, snacks, etc. etc. In order to avoid any scope for error, they rang up their respective homes and informed their parents and spouses that they had gone out of town for work-related purposes. One even informed his wife that a friend had died and hence it was necessary for him to go to pay his respects to the bereaved family.
Then they started imbibing.
The binge drinking began with a gentlemanly ‘cheers’, followed by a few snacks. Soon, the atmosphere became charged with what can be termed as sheer excitement. Each one narrated what he had been up to over the years. X said he had started his own business from scratch. He had built up a mini-empire from nothing, and was now lording over it with an employee strength of 75. Z said he had reached the topmost post in the company he was working in, and that he was now frustrated as there was nowhere else to go – he was looking at other options.
Y, a lawyer, began complaining about the flaws in India’s judicial system, how he had got a raw deal, and the like. Y, ever the complaining one of the group, also ranted about his two marriages and their successful failures, and of how much he had to shell out as alimony to each of his former wives per month. W was the smoothest one of the lot, the one in control.
Each slept as per one’s will and pleasure, while the others continued to drink. There was plenty to eat, as was the drink.
Soon the atmosphere turned boisterous. The binge drinking witnessed an exchange of ribald jokes, and the dirty limericks soon turned into bawdy songs. Y slipped on a little puddle left on the floor by a carelessly-handled ice cube and hurt his head. A little flow of blood was soon stemmed by a handkerchief wet by a spoonful of liquor.
Then the conversation turned serious. All the resentments, the lies and the self-pity came pouring out. At one stage, Y started sobbing like a baby, about how unfair and difficult and unfair life is. The others had their own sad stories (though there were no tears at their end).
Their four-day binge drinking episode over, they decided to finally call it a day. Having paid off their bill (no easy amount this), each left for their respective homes in taxicabs. Unshaven, uncouth and unsteady, they reached home. Safely home.
This is a true story. But it is no ordinary story. Several things could have happened. Y could have been seriously hurt if he had hurt his head in the wrong place. Y and Z’s self-pity could have unearthed hidden suicidal tendencies. In the process, X and W could have got into serious trouble.
But in the end, all ended up with a terrific hangover when the effects of the binge drinking wore off. A splitting headache, a queasy stomach and the admonishments of family members left them sadder — but even more sadly, no wiser.
And the story continues
contributed by Hari A recovering alcoholic