Perils of drinking

Nepalis are fond of drinking. When we were kids, Brahmins did not drink or eat momos. Now they love drinks and buff momos as much as any other caste. Over time, drinks have become the elixir of life and buff momo the haute cuisine for many.

Our elders always warned us against drinking. But, we did not need their theoretical warning as there were many practical lessons on offer in the neighbourhood. A general manager in a public corporation, who lived in a rented house opposite ours, would often pass out outside his gate to the great delight of the neighbours. He performed his spectacle in the drenching rain and cold nights regularly until he left to live on the outskirt. Another neighbour, a married RNAC staff, drank to death, pining for the love of a truck driver’s daughter, a Nepali dummy of Rajshri, an erstwhile Indian actress.

Drinks have also brought grief and misfortune upon select Nepalis in Kathmandu. A manager of a well-entrenched travel outfit, owned by the blue-blooded gentry, lost his lucrative job and eventually his life to drinks. Legend has it that he enjoyed drinking and smashing bottles in the erstwhile Foot Tapper discotheque. Kathmandu was a village then. What we did at night spread like wildlife in the morning. Not amused by his antics, the owners reportedly asked him to mend his ways. Grapevine has it that he said something to this effect: “I earn you a lot of money. What I do after office is my private life.” He was reportedly one of the best managers in the industry. But the owners sacrificed his service and his excellence for image and reputation.

An acquaintance, who enjoyed drinks and cards, propelled to the pyramid of the national airline with the aid of power lines, lost his balance as he struggled to stand on his feet while greeting the then crown prince, and fell flat on his face on the VIP flight. Legend has it that he lost his ‘exalted’ chair instantly.

An Indian employer found his staff, a macho man, lying on the street in Chhauni with his Honda trail bike on top of him. The employer reportedly exclaimed to his driver, “Are, ye to Apna Baral hai. Uthao isko.” The obedient driver ran to rescue the supine drunk and ushered him to his boss’s car. On seeing the boss, the man kicked the driver, calling him a stooge, or ‘chamcha’. The boss ordered the driver back to the car, saying, “saley ko marne do.”