You know, I have these moments where little embers of thoughts crisscross and fly around all over in my head. A hundred thoughts floating on the brain waves and you don’t know which one to ride upon.
However, this one particular ember is rather quite alive and sparkly even after days and takes me back to a party of few weeks ago. The razzmatazz of it is still vivid in my mind. The mood was upbeat, the music was foot tapping and the feet were inebriated. It wasn’t my first time to such an address but what I felt that day kind of made its way to my deeper cerebrum. As we were swaying to desi rap, I caught sight of this lady in her late fifties swinging with groovy vivacity without missing a beat. I have known her well and never would have I imagined her to let loose like that in a very familiar big crowd. I felt amazingly good to see her relishing that moment to herself. Maybe a few years down, she might feel nostalgic about granting herself that “happy high” carefree evening.
In a lot of communities and families, alcohol is still a taboo or culturally totally unacceptable. It has a valid reasoning to be so, yet as a thinking adult I might not want to label it as black as it is done by some. A few swigs sometime so long as it doesn’t affect your rational judgement or kill your liver might be alright. But of course I know trying to set a social limit to it is not only quite naive but also undoable unless you stick to the medically approved limit. I am not validating this “vice” because it makes you an unabated dancer, but just that it lets you drop your guard a bit and shed your hesitation. Not in the wrong sense at all that you get disrespectful of your family or disregard culture or traditions or cast off your civility. It just helps you slow down your conscious self, and lets you be the person you want to be at that moment.
My analogy here might be faulty but it is something like the Sufi dervishes dancing in trance lost in the music of their higher energies. Or people fervently dancing at mata ki chowkis or kirtans. Before you label me sacrilegious or hold me in contempt of religious sentiment, let me clarify I am not comparing the occasion or the sentiment of two, I am comparing the similarity of the chemical influx that happens in the mind in both cases. A devotee loses his self consciousness naturally in presence of that pure vibe while stimulants help to reach that subconscious pleasure zone where we wouldn’t naturally reach otherwise. As I always disclaim, I am not endorsing or promoting any chemical, organic or alcoholic intake or think it as a positive lifestyle trend. But it’s my personal belief that it sometimes lets you be or enjoy as a person you would wish to but wouldn’t dare.
At the same time, I see this glaring trend all around me viciously confining the definition of fun to nights of cheering and clinking glasses or rolling joints. There is this growing tribe who almost cannot believe that people can have fun or good times or memorable nights or trips without being “high”. And I literally cringe and rebel every time at such ridiculous opinions. I have enjoyed, laughed, danced and made memorable nights as much without a pitcher of sangria as much with it and anybody and everybody else can too. This escalating ubiquity and dependence on stimulants and making it as much a part of our routine like lunch or dinner is indeed terribly worrisome. It makes you wonder about the deteriorating mental landscape of our generation, which is so highly dependent on stimulants to have a good laugh. Only if we weren’t prone to being carried away into over indulgence and abided by some drinking discipline and moderation, it would be so much healthier physically, mentally, socially and culturally.
We are brought up and live in a society of several norms and restraints. And they are probably needed to avoid anarchy and instability at large. But a lot of times, we pay the price as individuals to conform to these obsolete or unneeded norms. Generations before us, have paid that price more so. But ours and generations after us are more non-conformists or pragmatists, who are unwilling to accept or follow customs that need some revision with time. That evening, what those couple of drinks did to that lady was not made her dance, it let her shed her inhibitions and find joy in her movement. A dance of sheer pleasure. It’s not that she cannot step out a few nights for fun; she may well outright buy off a few clubs. But we are so socially conditioned and chained in our parochial mindsets that a lady in her late fifties, swaying in a disc with her set of friends seems almost impalpable as much to her as to others. How many of us can imagine our parents, no matter how fond they are of dancing on good music upon neon lights or simply “hanging out”, take a leap into a night club or a disc? Abysmally few. Not because they didn’t want to but because they were conditioned to believe that they shouldn’t. The conditioning is slowly falling apart and I wouldn’t say it’s wrong.
It’s a fairly recent cultural change to see these bunches of late teenagers, this crowd of early thirties to early forties and a ghetto of late fifties all under the same roof of any resto-bars enjoying the same atmosphere but in very different ways. In the larger picture, it is not about consuming alcohol or being a teetotaller; it is about accepting change with time and letting it assimilate in our mindsets. Moderation is the key to any sustainable social fabric; it is only the extremity of any which makes it a vice. A little bit of discipline can go a long way in creating so much more fun and openness between generations and social outlook.
I raise a toast to good times with moderation!! Makes sense, our kids are growing up fast, let’s be open but better examples to them.