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Life in the young lane

entertainment Updated: Aug 12, 2007 12:47 IST
Amitava Sanyal
Amitava Sanyal
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Suppose you turn 18 and get married. Not that you should or need to at all. But think hypothetically — if for no other reason, then for the sheer fact that Indian law allows you to marry at that age.

So you get married. For your honeymoon, you decide upon a secluded stretch along the Maharashtra coastline (because you are unlikely to be earning enough for a Mauritius trip at that age). You hire a car and drive to the beach (allowed at that age). You frolic (age no bar). And when the evening cues in a starry night, you rub your chintzy beard and holler for cocktails. You take the first sip, and ‘clang’ — before you know, an eager-beaver cop has handcuffed you for consuming alcohol (because he is allowed to do that). No, life need not necessarily pan out this way. But think — because Indian law allows you to do that.

You could have avoided the bother had you rolled down to Goa or to Karnataka, because in those states you can drink at 18. But if you are 18 in Delhi — perish the thought of alcohol. You can have two kids (allowed) by the time you can have a government-approved tipple at the capital age of 25.

Another thing: do not blame only Mandal for not getting the job when you graduate at 21. It was cued in by another legislation passed a few years earlier — when the voting age was pulled down from 21 to 18. That made Young India’s 18-21-year-olds into one of the most amenable vote banks. Mandal was the political subsequence.

Moral of the story: Do not marry at 18, even if you are allowed to do so.