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Home / More Lifestyle / From showering flower petals to dancing in the street: What a 40-day liquor fast did to Indians

From showering flower petals to dancing in the street: What a 40-day liquor fast did to Indians

After nearly two months of no liquor, Indians went all out to welcome the government’s decision to reopen liquor stores. Read on

more-lifestyle Updated: May 06, 2020 20:32 IST
Yoshita Rao
Yoshita Rao
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Separate line for women in front of liquor stores in Bengaluru
Separate line for women in front of liquor stores in Bengaluru(Photo: Twitter/Hereprak)

It’s been a little over a month since Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a nation-wide lockdown owing to the Coronavirus pandemic on March 25. Baring essential services, all else, including public transport, were closed. Having extended the lockdown twice before, Indians running low on liquor stocks began Google searching ‘how to make alcohol at home’. A Google Trends report pointed out this was a burgeoning search towards the end of March itself.

On May 4, as we entered the third phase of the lockdown (popularly being referred to as lockdown 3.0), India saw the reopening of liquor stores across states. And the majority of Indians were overjoyed - bursting crackers, performing puja and even dancing in the streets. 

Though the government had instructed stand-alone liquor shops to operate with necessary precaution, the norms of social distancing were long-forgotten in the pursuit of beer and other heady beverages. Soon after, a variety of memes flooded the Internet, some lauding the persevering spirit of Indians who stood in line around the block while others called out the alcoholics and others still pointed out the joyous commemoration of liquor mongers. The hashtag — Liquor Shops, became a popular trend by noon on Monday. 

Certain rites and rituals, although laughable, were hilariously unique to being Indian with the opening of booze stalls. In Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, liquor shop owners showered their customers with flower petals, while another journalist shared a video of a man dancing after procuring two bottles of country liquor in Andhra Pradesh.  

In Bengaluru, Karnataka, queues outside liquor stores began a little earlier than 7am and some stores had separate queuing lines just for ladies. To commemorate the openings of wine shops in other parts of Karnataka, Kannadigas burst crackers as though it was a festive celebration, while others were seen breaking coconuts outside shops. 

Those who grew weary of standing in line in the hot sun were taking a break in the shade leaving their grocery bags, handkerchieves and slippers in the queue to reserve their place. A Twitterati shared a TV9 Marathi news clipping of a man in Nashik, Maharashtra, being interviewed outside a liquor shop who broke out in song, thanking the Maharashtra government for this decision. “I will buy at least 12 to 13 quarters [of liquor] and drink at least seven or eight of them today itself,” he said, adding, “The restraint I’ve showed for the past two months, I am going to drink enough for the time I’ve lost, today.” 

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