Alcohol, the sweet darling of kings as well as paupers, is facing existential threat from workaholic researchers. Recently, a long-term study entitled, ‘The Global Burden of Diseases Study’ has been published in Lancet, the iconic journal. The researchers have concluded that the amount of alcohol which can be consumed safely is gol anda (zero). So, even wine can be termed as a slow poison disguised as a classy drink.
The liquor lobby must be in a stupor. But they always strike back with devious strategies. This study is also a shocker for those individuals who have been under the illusion that daily drinking within limits is good for health. The list of excuses which the Bachhus devotees have for hitting the bottle could make up a lengthy book. A few months ago, I phoned a friend nicknamed Daru Dass, to enquire about his well-being since he had fever. He replied, ‘I am feeling much better today. In fact, the fever worsened because of my family members- they stopped me from drinking for the last few days! But today I drank two pegs of Whisky and I feel much better. Alcohol has killed all the harmful bacteria in my gut!’
What if the authorities take this research seriously and one finds a large image of an emaciated liver failure patient while pouring a drink from an elegant bottle of single malt. One could get psyched out. However, a universal ban on spirits is unlikely. All over the world, powerful people have to strike deals and alcohol is often the chief negotiator in those. Alcohol is also a ‘kamau beta’ for the state governments.
A few months ago, I and some other pseudo-intellectuals were having a heated discussion about alcohol- of course over drinks. I gave the doctors’ point of view. ‘Alcohol destroys so many lives because of liver failure, drunk driving and domestic violence.’ However, one semi-gentleman opined, ‘Vehicle production is never banned despite road mishaps. So, why alcohol.’ Although his argument was a bit flawed, I decided not to counter him because he was drinking very fast.
The next day, I had some contrarian ideas. There would be consequences of a total ban on alcohol. Many men could become robotic because their emotions were likely to remain pent up throughout life (Most men learn emotional expression in Alcohol Academy). Many girls could be in an odd situation because reserved boys wouldn’t find the courage to propose. Punjabis wouldn’t get fluent in English speaking. Friends will remain friends and the relationship won’t be upgraded to a brotherly one because that happens only over drinks. Many artists and poets would become pale shadows of their former selves. Since it is the only medicine for heartache, there could be many cases of chronic depression.
However, health is paramount. So, in view of the solid research, the drinkers should embrace safer addictions like music, painting, reading, writing, social media, gaming and television.
Don’t mock the Mocktails as they may have the last laugh!