|Courtesy: Sunayan Shahani|
Friend: So you don’t drink?
Me: No. I don’t.
Friend: How come?
Me: Well when I turned 18, I did give alcohol a shot (no pun intended). But I just never acquired a taste for it. So I figured if I don’t like it, why do it!
Friend: You on drugs on something to come up with that?
Friend: Let me guess, don’t smoke either?
Friend: Strange. But yet you listen to heavy metal….
Either way that I look at it, I’ve had this conversation numerous times with a series of people who I’ve met over the years. It is funny when I think of some of those chats, for the friends or acquaintances with whom I was talking to, were so completely dumbstruck by my revelation that it seemed to affect their mood in some way. Although I’m not quite sure why. More so, a few of them seemed to lament and pleaded with me to give alcohol another chance. But when I politely declined they seemed to slip into a bizarre state of melancholy and nurse their wounds over their favorite poison. However, I will add that no one had or has ever been obnoxious and forced me to have a glass of beer, wine or vodka. But what amuses me the most as I recollect all those dialogues is that because I am such a big heavy metal music fan or lover, many outsiders assume that I am a heavy drinker. Somehow all the fans of that particular music are labelled the same way. [And now I have songs like Whiskey In The Jar, Cold Gin, Black Ice and Me And My Wine playing in my head].
But putting that connection aside, I do realize that being a teetotaler can be a bit challenging at times, which is why some folks I know who have no acquired taste for alcohol still grab a glass of champagne, Old Monk or Peach Schnapps just to fit in. And you may ask why do they do so? Strangely enough just the other night I was at a house party and a dear friend of mine was mentioning how having an refined taste and knowledge of wine can help you score so much new business. What he of course meant was that having this interest helps to literally break the ice with people across the table as it is a way of finding a common ground that could help people better connect. Nothing wrong with that at all but that is one reason why certain people force themselves to drink a bit. The other cause as to why they would do this is to become more accepted as they feel if they don’t drink they won’t be invited to office outings, peer parties, music concerts and New Year bashes. Honestly, I can say that isn’t a feeling to hold onto. If you stand by your decision and are comfortable with it, people around you will respect you for that. Plus, you can still rely on other interests and common grounds like art, sports, cinema or food to connect with people and build those bridges of professional and personal friendship. Don’t fear that you’ll become a social outcast. But, at the same time, don’t be a stick in the mud and judge others who do drink or remain aloof when you are at any social gathering. My advice is to be in the moment and take part in the wholesome fun but watch out for your mates and keep them safe.
For the most part I am glad to see people enjoying themselves and being pleased with the alcoholic beverages that they do have. I’d add that I am a bit envious when I see how passionate some people are about their favorite liquors. Of course, though I don’t feel the same way as they do, I still think it’s pretty cool. So to all those happy people I have known, do know and will know, I say cheers and have fun. Pass me the heavy metal and you keep the ice. Have a drink on me! Next Take please!