Sudha Wine Store’

Yep, that all too familiar sign, the comforting cold-blue background, has once again assured me that my seemingly long trek home will now end in a couple of minutes.

The sign is a reminder to one and all that the greatest synthetic friend of mankind is now available for sale in bottles of different colors, shapes and sizes. I will admit, there have been days where I was tempted to throw away the facade of the ‘Bhartiya nari’ and grab a can (or two) of KF Premium or Bud Magnum, but on other days, it’s just a large-ish store trying to sell its wares.

What really gets me thinking, is the variety of people who visit the store. It isn’t the only store that sells alcohol on that stretch of the road. Yet, I will see construction workers from the North of India exiting the store with the successful IT professional.
Or the watchman of the nearby apartment complex with the retired teacher. Sometimes, it’s one of the bolder aunties waiting patiently for their husbands, while standing next to a typical ‘shady’character.

Some of you reading this may scoff; ‘so what? this is Bangalore after all.’ Yes it is, and I agree, these combination of people can be seen in any public space in the city, but what really interests me are the expressions on their faces.

In front of a liquor store is where I’ve really felt and experienced a sense of camaraderie among people. You know, the kind of ease and comfort with strangers that us 80’s and 90’s kids reminiscence  about in nostalgic memes. It will never be vocalized, but you can see it in their gestures, their movements, the sneaky eye-contact. The underlying sense of comrade-ship, and knowing that we all are in the same boat, irrespective of the kind of work that we do.

Almost everywhere else, I see people being aware of their social stature or their money. Never in front of alcohol, though.

I guess it’s time to stop denying the great social equalizer that is alcohol.