Curl up in bed, plug your ears with cotton, draw the curtains, and with a few reverent words to St Bibiana and a bucket by your side, sleep off your hangover says Girija Duggal.Updated: Sep 02, 2008, 17:26 IST
A colleague stumbled late into office today looking a picture of woe — bloodshot eyes, pale skin and a splitting headache. “Shush!” was all he could mumble in response to our concerned queries (Did he have fever? A fight with his girlfriend? Bad news from home?). Two hours, zero work and lots of lime juice later, he managed to reveal the culprit — rum, and 10 neat glasses of it, no less. That explained it all. A hangover is one morning-after that no pill can cure.
Of course, that doesn’t mean people haven’t tried. Thousands of years of painstaking, hands-on research have given us a rather quirky database of quick-fix remedies, ranging from the banal (coffee, juice, plenty of water, an ice pack) and interesting (eggs, a cold shower, a Bloody Mary) to the downright weird (hair of the dog i.e. have the same drink that got you into this state the night before). The incurable odds have also inspired fervent prayer to St Bibiana, the (virgin!) patron saint(ess) of hangovers.
All of us have hangover stories that we can boast of (unless you are the kind who can drink others under the table; then I really hate you). Take a good friend of mine, for example, who celebrated the first morning after her 18th birthday taking breaks between vomiting. Finally, pity overtook anger and her local guardians lent her a helping hand. The aunt offered her black coffee to calm her churning interiors; she immediately puked it out.
The uncle advised her to take some lemon with salt; said friend duly proceeded to throw up again. Ever since that episode, my friend has abstained from alcohol; whether it was the overdose of whisky or the remedies, no one quite knows. I have a few incidents to narrate, too, thanks to innocent experiments involving mixing of drinks and overconfident shooter contests. Fresh juice has helped in calming the stomach to an extent, as has lots of cold water down the throat and over the head. But nothing has helped alleviate the symptoms completely.
Of course, there is something that can help — moderate drinking, or none at all. But in case a pounding headache, a parched throat and nausea do greet you in the morning, here’s the simplest — and in my experience — the best cure. Curl up in bed, plug your ears with cotton, draw the curtains, and with a few reverent words to St Bibiana and a bucket by your side, sleep off your hangover.