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Drink, don't drive

chandigarh Updated: Aug 06, 2013 09:37 IST
Dr Ankur Malhotra
Dr Ankur Malhotra
Hindustan Times
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Feeling dazed and confused after a hectic day in office, I felt the urge to cool off. In my quest for elixir and an instant fix for my problem, I remembered what Benjamin Franklin famously said, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

Motivated by these famous words, my senses were totally taken over by the sight of a chilled pint of ale. Instantly, a feeling of bliss took over. I stopped at the nearest pub and ordered a mug of chilled beer. With the very first sip, I felt elation, jubilation and a tingling sensation from head to toe. Surely, William Shakespeare was right when he said, "For a quart of ale is a dish for kings." Even zillion years of meditation couldn't have brought me to my present state of euphoria.

Feeling like an Egyptian pharaoh, I cruised down the roads of City Beautiful (Chandigarh) in my old, trusted car. My euphoria was short-lived for it was not long before I spotted our very own custodian of four lanes, blocking the road with an obstacle course that even F1 driver Michael Schumacher would have trouble navigating. I asked God why everything fun in life was so short-lived? Why me? Why today!

On reaching the check-post, I was asked to roll down the windows. The traffic marshal came close and sniffed the air as though I were a modelling for a cologne advertisement. A winning smirk and signs of a "mental bhangra" were all too conspicuous. Maintaining his composure, he asked, "Kitne pegs the (How many pegs have you had)?" It only reminded me of the dialogue from the film, Sholay, when Gabbar Singh quizzes his men "Kitne aadmi the?" Like Kalia, I could hardly muster the courage to answer, "Huzoor, sirf ek beer (Sir, only one beer)."

Next, I was to face the toughest challenge of my life, the alcometer test. The very look of the alcohol-sniffing device sent shivers down my spine. I was gripped by a strong sense of nausea as I could well imagine how it had pursed countless drunken lips before mine that night. Now I was more concerned about dying in an isolated ward of some unknown lung infection and that too for a pint of ale. Closing my eyes and seeking divine intervention, I blew into the bacteria-laden alcometer and hoped for a miracle. Butterflies played havoc in the stomach as I awaited the result.

God did come to my rescue that night and I passed the test by a whisker. Ironically, the result made the traffic marshal more stern and rigid. He warned me of dire consequences if I was to repeat the feat again. I nodded in agreement as though I were a school kid in front of the headmaster. This inflated the marshal's already-mammoth ego.

Returning to the safety of my home, I breathed a sigh of relief and vowed never to drink and drive again, but surely some walk would not be that harmful after a chilled pint of ale.

The writer can be reached at ankurdoc32@gmail.com