The tipsy drink!

I am on a WhatsApp group in which all the members are engineers that too with more than 45 years of experience. Most of them have retired. But the fun part is a couple of them who are active in business have the maximum time available with them to contribute to the group. Their favourite subject being liquor! Why would professional, educated and almost retired persons be interested in talking about alcohol all the time? I call this irrational thinking.  

What is the origin of alcoholic drinks?  As mentioned in Wikipedia, “discovery of late Stone Age jugs suggests that intentionally fermented beverages existed at least as early as the Neolithic period (Cir. 10,000 BC). Many animals also consume alcohol when they get a chance and are affected in much the same way as humans, But humans are the only species known to produce alcoholic drinks intentionally.” Humans are the species who make alcoholic drinks for their own consumption. There are three broad classes of drinks beers, wines and spirits!  

Alcohol is consumed socially in many cultures. An alcoholic drink contains ethanol. Alcohol is manufactured by fermentation of grains, fruits, or other sources of sugar. Alcohol consumption has an essential social role in many cultures. In many cultures, alcohol is consumed by both women and men. Nations have laws controlling the production, distribution, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol consumption is legal beyond a certain age in most nations. Many countries have tried to ban alcohol consumption but have miserably failed.  

Alcoholic drink is an addictive drink. Taken in small quantities, it makes a person euphoric, but in larger quantities they are depressants. In many countries, wines are consumed with food, but spirits are consumed before the meal. After meal brandies and cigars are also part of the of the culture. 

Just for fun, I will share with you my alcohol experiments. When I was studying engineering, I used to live in hostels. At the end of any term, there would be a “Wet Party”; we friends used to meet and take alcohol. (It was an open secret but an illegal act) In those days, I never drank alcohol and had only one more friend to give me company. After drinks, there would be a procession to go out for dinner; friends used to be in the state of, a bit drunk to thoroughly drunk. One of us would be in the front and the other at the back to control the band. The surprising part was that the friends used to listen to us. This continued for a few years, and later we could get a friend’s house for the parties and were not required to go out for dinner. Two of our friends would always get drunk, vomit, and the story continued.  

After I started working, I tasted my first drink, a whiskey; I never liked alcohol. Later I switched to Vodka for a different reason. I rarely drank it, poured it away and would get a Sprite. Nobody noticed. I used to take a couple of government inspectors for lunch; as long as they got their quota of beer, they did not bother what I drank. One of my colleagues was a chain smoker and used to drink a lot during office parties. His wife and Jaya were colleagues. His wife would tell Jaya that her husband was the most humble man in the world. She would tell Jaya, “He never drinks and smokes!” I knew that love was blind, but I never knew that love killed your sense of smell. 

Once I was in Germany in the dead of winter. We went to our hosts’ home; they owned a winery too! The lady was charming, and she gave us so many small shots to test, I almost got drunk with wine. Luckily, as soon as I stepped out of their home, the biting cold hit me, and I was normal in a minute. Now, I take wine, once in a while, especially if I am in foreign countries. But alcohol never brought irrational behaviour in me. I had a close friend who loved his drink, but never have I seen him getting even close to being drunk!

I will share with you some amusing anecdotes and information about alcoholic beverages. How did the word Cocktail come in use? People have been mixing any ingredient in hard liquor for a long time. But the name cocktail has come up in the last two hundred years. 

Cocktail 

During the early 17th century, a horse, with a docked (cut tail) tail, was said to have a “cocktail.” Thoroughbreds did not have docked tails.  When a regular horse was entered into a race, its cocktail was observed – and became a term synonymous with an adulterated horse. There is a tradition to drink alcohol during horse races; the word “cocktail” was soon used to mean an adulterated spirit, alcohol mixed with something. Well, I thought a cocktail was something fancy. Nowadays we get mocktails also. These are the drinks like cocktails but do not contain hard liquor. Looks like businessmen are exploiting the fancy names for the purpose of business.  Mocktails are also expensive!  

Booze 

The word booze has its origin with the meaning “alcoholic drink”. Initially, it was spelt as “bouse”. The word booze is said to have a Germanic origin, but there is still a doubt about its real origin! Three words from which the word booze has come are “bausen” in German, Dutch word is “busen”, and the old Dutch word was “buise”. The last word means drinking vessel.  The majority think that the word from booze originated is “busen”. 

Toast 

Toasting has some believable and some questionable origins. Two people clinked their glasses in such a way that their drinks got mixed. This ensured that you were not being poisoned. Another story that comes out is that the wines in olden days were not of good quality, they were acidic. A toast was physically put inside the wine. This toast would absorb the acid from the wine and improve the quality of the wine. Toasting many people at a party is also used for drinking excessive alcohol without seeming to do it purposely. Toasting is just an excuse!  

Let me share with you a sad story. I had a friend who was a company secretary. We used to attend meetings and would share rooms. Once after a cocktail party, we came back to the guest house. He had consumed about five whiskeys. At the guest house, he asked me, “Pramod my doctor has told me to take a shot of brandy before sleeping. Take with me if you have crossed 35.” I was 36 then. He consumed the whole quarter bottle of brandy and ….. He slept through our meeting the next full day! Poor fellow ultimately died of alcoholism.

Coming back to the original discussion of how people nearing seventy remain so much interested in alcohol that they keep on discussing the subject on and on. Once some of my friends went out for dinner. Out of ten, eight drank alcohol, and all drank them in large quantities. Liking a drink is one thing but drinking alcohol in excess at the age of seventy is something different. At this age something can suddenly go wrong with the body and results can be devastating.

So let us give a toast to wise people who will switch to drink booze in moderate quantities! Remember, when you say, “I need that one shot of xxx every night,” (and take it) you are an Alcoholic!

Cheers! Bottoms up!

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

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Every dog has his day!

Literally! Dogs have become important species, especially in India. Keeping dogs as pets has a long history right from maybe stone age! In Mahabharata a dog follows the Pandavas during their LAST journey. People have their own thought processes about pet dogs and I am writing on this subject only to get an overall feel of the subject. 

Importance of dogs in India started with the keen interest taken by Maneka Gandhi about dogs. There is a Supreme Court ruling about stray dogs which is given below. 

Under the Indian laws, animal cruelty is an offence – under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and Section and 429 of the Indian Penal Code – punishable with imprisonment and fine. Likewise, criminal intimidation, and criminally intimidating animal welfare volunteers is a serious offence under the Indian Penal Code (specifically, Section 503 of Indian Penal Code read with Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code 1860). 

But what happens if there arises a cache 22 situation where a decision needs to be taken about supporting humans and dogs at the same time, in the same situation, at same location. Who should get the priority? There are many different rulings which declare the rights of the stray dogs; breaking such laws is liable to jail terms! But not giving the same support to homeless people (maybe stray people) is not punishable! But the alertness and alacrity with which the Animal support groups act and react in case of dogs, is rarely seen in case of humans in difficulty.  

With latest trends, now some families are deciding that they will not have kids but will adopt dogs. This trend, which was observed in western countries is now also seen in Indian couples. I know of a family, there could be many more, who while traveling, “talk” to their pets on video calls; kennels have set up cameras etc to provide such facility.  

I am aware that there are pet training schools where charges maybe as high as the best of human schools. I know that in 1980 someone used to pay US $100/ hour for pet training. (Be careful what you call someone’s dog, it may be good idea to call it by its name; owners are sensitive sometimes.) Now we have pet training schools, but do we have human training schools to teach humans how to handle pet dogs?  

Years back, I was walking on a footpath in the US, a lady was talking on her cell phone with somebody. She had a dog on the leash while it was doing its natural thing. I was wondering how this situation is going to be handled. As I reached near the lady, she probably told the other party to hold on for a second. She said to me, “Sir, I have my poop picking gear, don’t worry I am going to pick it up”! I am quite sure the lady had gone to best training school where they teach about handling the doggies.  

I will share with you couple of examples where the owners did not take the training course. We went to someone for a cup of coffee. We never knew that they had a dog. It’s not that Jaya and I are afraid of dogs, in fact we love them, mildly. The breed they had was five feet long when it was lying down. Its bark was as loud as the fighter aircrafts breaking sound barrier. As soon as we entered their home, it was an apartment, the doggy ran in as fast as Usain Bolt and braked in front of us; it had an awesome braking system. We were stunned, most probably, because of this unexpected, almost an attack on us! Our friend came and said, “Hey, guys! Don’t worry he is a very mild pet!” Of course, we knew that. I just wondered if it were ferocious, officially. After it was leashed, hypothetically, not physically, we started to move towards the three-seat sofa! The moment my bottom touched the sofa, windows in the home shuddered, I had almost become deaf with initial boom, I jumped up. Our friend, the doggy, had started howling. Our friend, the human, told us that it was doggy’s seat! The doggy jumped on the sofa and lied down, all its five feet! The coffee arrived, we gulped it. Luckily the cell phone came to the rescue! It rang. A friend had called to inform me that our evening dinner was postponed due to some emergency. I kept on blabbering on the phone, “Don’t you worry, we will reach in 30 minutes. I will try to get a doctor with me on the way.”  

Immediately, we left our friend’s place with apologies and told him that some emergency had come up at a friend’s place, bal bla bla. For a change, I got a certificate of appreciation from my better half, for an excellent and prompt action and acting skills. 

A friend’s dog died recently after a long life of 13 years. He was a mild, lovely dog. But he (the dog) missed out on two things; after he died there were a hundred RIP messages (95 were actually saying only RIP) on our society’s WA group. Very few people in the society used to interact with him (the dog); he would have known how many really “loved” him had he read those messages. But he, the doggy, was dead and was not on WA group! Probably we humans also know how many people “really” feel about us after we die! Why not tell it before we die, just a food for thought?  

Now I am going ask awkward questions. What do we do with our neighbor’s doggy who keeps on howling, at night? Our neighbor, the owner of the doggy, I am told, cannot go to sleep if the doggy is not howling! What do we do with neighbor who does not pick the poo poo? What do you do if the doggy cleanses your car rim and tyre with his, you know what? Should we send a thank you note? To whom, the doggy or the owner? Doggy is after all their kid!  What do we do with them when the doggy wets, the mat in the elevator/lift in your condo? Of course, you take the mat home and wash it, spray lovely perfume to mask the after effects.  Or maybe walk the staircase to your 11 th floor home!

Looking at more positive sides of dog the pet! It provides employment. Our friends, the owners are so busy, that they have no time to take the doggy out for a walk. Don’t ask why do you have pets, if you can’t walk them? Do you ask some someone why you are having kids?  Now there are some special shops catering only in dog stuff. 

Humans have a much developed brain. With new methods, equipment, tools, humans have been controlling other species for different purpose including food. Horses were used for travel, camels are used even today in desert for travel, we eat chicken, fish, goats and pigs. Yes, in Korea dog food is considered a delicacy! I am all for stopping the cruelty against animals but are we not going to other extreme about dogs in India? Honestly, I do not know!  

 

 

Journey back to 1967!

I am trying a different format of blog which I may repeat if both you folks and I find comfortable!

I thought why not ask a question to myself in the form of Vikram Vetal story! Vikram the King  is Pramod and Vetal, the spirit is replaced by new entity, “Internet Genie”! (called Genie)

                                                                      InternetGenie

Pramod somehow caught hold of Genie, managed to make Genie run at the high speed that was expected of him. Genie as usual started narrating a story. He started with a question, “If you go back to 1967 which branch of Engineering will you choose?” Pramod knew that if he uttered a word, Genie would slip out of his control and system will hang! So Pramod did not give any reply to the question asked.

As usual Genie kept on talking. Pramod, I know that your interest in academics was pretty low as you could not get time because of your interest in playing games, drama, movies, general chit chat and of course cards, Teen Patti. What else could you hostel guys do? You never wanted to challenge Vijay Ghate in academics so you kept yourself busy elsewhere. Then surprise of surprise to all, including your parents, you opted to do Masters right after Bachelor’s degree! Only select few knew the real reason! Jaya was in B. E. at that time and you wanted to hang around in Pune. Did you really like Metallurgy because of teachers like Dr. Satyanarayan, Bhat & Hingwe?

I know you used your Metallurgy knowledge for a decade but your interests were always on the commercial side of life! But why did you select Metallurgy? You will now tell me story that Metallurgy selected you. Had you selected Civil engineering you could have built big buildings, towers, malls and what not. You could have designed bridges like Limbya! You could have been involved in building expressways, Metro railways and so many different things!

If you had selected Mechanical engineering you could been in the heart of car making; you are anyway in car domain even today! You could have been involved in fancy stuff like Electric Vehicles! You could have enjoyed design of large equipment, rockets!

Selection of Electrical engineering would have given you bonus marks, initially, as Jaya’s dad was Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering! Besides this bonus, what other plus points could you have got? You would have probably finally understood two-way switch for staircase lighting. Difference between Motor and Generator would not have been mystery to you! The other day I went to see my friend Liladhar’s factory. I saw the products and was almost going say you are making lovely generators; luckily Liladhar said that they are making induction Motors for Siemens! Lucky me!

Now remains E & T/C. I know there is no way you would have taken that branch. If you had somehow handled Ghate, there was Kuber! It’s good that you did not take any chances as you would have been slaughtered. Besides that, your query about what is earthing would still have remained mystery to you!

Pramod was already fed up of Genie’s continuous blabbering and suddenly said, ” Do you know that when you take up Metallurgy, you get the license to do to anything in life other than Metallurgy!”

With this statement he broke the rule of silence that Genie had locked him in.  At that instant Genie slipped out of Pramod’s grasp, Genie’s speed became equivalent of 2 G and system hung!  Genie could not help but make a passing remark before escaping. “That is why Pramod, you ended up writing stupid blogs like this!”