You get up with your drink and move to the balcony for fresh air besmirched with cigarette smoke. You gawk at the nightly sky and flashbacks appear as you wait for the clock to strike 12. Marking the end of the millennium, you have been served with delectable lunch at the big dining- table with your cousins, uncles and grandparents. You have witnessed your parents’ New Year after-party relaxing in the evening having a cup of tea or coffee with a few slides of toast or marie biscuits. You are the generation who has grown up watching innocuous Shaktiman or Shaka Laka Boom Boom to becoming one of the cult followers of Jordan in Rockstar! In high school and early college days, you have gone international and have been hooked to watching ‘Friends’, and ‘Breaking Bad’, to name a few. Noticing a tectonic shift in media consumption with movies and TV- series, you get a shielded second-hand experience of the outside world. This was the world you knew! You were in your cocoon as you saw your older siblings leaving for college one by one. Flash forward 10 years, you are a parent or on your way planning to become one. Your unexplored exposure comes with an expiration date. Usually, it starts on the day you get married and ends upon conceiving a child. Torn between the image of a cliched daddy’s girl and a wife, your journey begins which you would have preferred with your own set of friends settled in different cities. Your hankering for novelty slowly starts to dim that burnished bright in the darkness of ignorance. You cling to your past more than ever and struggle to match steps with the present. All of a sudden, you are holier than thou against the brazenness! While on the lowest rung of the ‘new’ social hierarchy, you are repulsed and mortified. On your way to stashing untouched, moist Marie biscuits in the garbage bag, you answer the doorbell to accept the order of starters. As you unpack and look for the plates, one of the wives waltzes in into the kitchen to ask for ice. “Have paper plates for the next time! You will tire yourself out.”

As months go by, you slowly start to climb the social ladder and come across ‘Gin & Tonic’ branded as ladies’ drink. Annoyed, you are worldly enough to look beyond the gendered nonsense associated with drinks. Often in the ‘chicken, peg and chauvinism’ gala hosted by men and their mutated wives,  you have noticed a new entrant holding a ‘Barcadi Breezer’ yet to understand the ways of the world in the metropolitan cities. It is in these gatherings; that you realize how the alcohol percentage is decided by the husband who is busy negotiating a deal with his eager friends to not blemish his wife’s ‘innocence’. A man who was once a boy entered into the wild when he left his small hometown for studies, but a homely woman turns to men for their bit of wildness often unexplored and suppressed owing to the cloistered and shackled surrounding they had been living in. But even then, the level of wildness is moderated to not rock the happy balance that men are supposed to maintain.



Since the olden times, alcohol has been one of the widely used drugs and has been part of social ceremonies. In Greek and Roman cultures, literature and art have depicted the use of wine by the Gods and worship of Bacchus (wine god) but have also forbidden its abuse. Manifestation of ill-effects were disapproved and drunkenness as a negative form of behaviour was widely rejected. In other religions and cultures like Islam, some sects of Christianity and in upper caste of Hinduism abstinence is the norm. While a lack of cultural consensus has created dissonance, the attitude towards drinking varies resulting in complex interactions. Hailing from the eastern state of India, alcohol consumption is subjected to moral and ethical condemnation. It is often viewed as risky, hedonistic and morally lax.

The havoc that media has created in luring children into junk food; the same image has been constructed around the consumption of drinks as a social lubricant while ignoring the damaging and dysfunctional consequences when indulged. Moreover, the truth about gender attributes associated with alcohol persists and has a decisive role to play in its marketing and sales. A cocktail is regarded as a feminine drink for women are attracted to colours while men are to stronger drinks like bourbon, scotch or beer. Flirty cocktail names or even the preferred choice of cocktail glass like curvy for women and cylindrical for men are preferred. Often a corporate woman’s uninhibited flamboyance is a winner among metrosexual men who don’t give a hoot about their roots. But it is painfully paradoxical to watch them recoil when entering into a holy matrimonial alliance with a girl of a virginal, clean background. As the restrictive definition of gender has started to evolve, the binary around booze refuses to die out. Sexism at the bar counter hasn’t stepped out of antiquity and has done little to improve the attitudes towards female bartenders.

In some cases, masculinity is so fragile that men refuse to drink out from a cocktail coupe touted to be shaped after a woman’s breast.  Women tired of being mansplained about their choice of drink, getting femininity equated with weakness or abstaining from drinking altogether need the society to drink narrow and misaligned perception all up.

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About the Author

Ankita Kumari

Ankita Kumari is a Post Graduate of English Literature. With, she strives to bring the literature of seven continents to one place. Based out of Bengaluru, Karnataka, she tries to rekindle the fire read more...

6 Posts | 1,884 Views

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