New Coastie – Whisky down a dark alley

There are two things common in all living beings that drive evolution for most of us – survival and reproduction. Food and sex. 

No wonder when religion arrived for humans, food and sex became heavily regulated. The beauty of human evolution is that the brain that came up with these regulations is also the architect of our rebellion against them.

This brings me to my own religious background. I grew up in a Muslim society; in a country that was created in the name of the religion. As expected, food and sex are heavily regulated in Islam. For this article I will just focus on food. Most people are aware that a practicing Muslim will not eat pork or drink alcohol. Naturally, growing up, my brain compelled me to rebel against these conventions.

Alcohol and pork are both illegal in Pakistan. When I turned 19, I decided I must try the evil that is alcohol. I called my friend who was already dabbling in beer and conveyed to him the urgency of the need to lose my alcohol virginity. 

It was a true feeling for danger because for someone of limited means, it is hard to get your hands on alcohol in Pakistan. My friend only had experience of cheap beer made in Pakistan. However, I was inspired by Hollywood. I wanted some real whiskey. So, we had to call someone, who had to call the dealer to vouch for us. Once appropriate references were made, I called the dealer. Extremely nervous, I asked for Jack Daniels. That was the only name I knew. Luckily, the dealer had access to some Jack Daniels bootlegged from Thailand. We were asked to meet the dealer in a dark alley with a bag of cash. We were strictly asked to remain in the car.

The dealer was late. My evolved brain started thinking about how this will all go wrong. I imagined a police car screeching and the police officers screaming – “freeze”! I was so enamoured with Hollywood, that even my imagined arrest in Karachi involved American police. 

Oh, there he is! An old Daihatsu Charade pulls in parallel to our car. His window rolls down, our window rolls down, he throws in a paper bag with a bottle in our car, and we throw in a bag of money in his car. Done.

Now for the drinking. All we knew was Hollywood drinking. They don’t use mixers in the movies. In the movies the whiskey is in the decanter. The boss pours it in a glass for the rogue police officer before asking the officer for his badge and gun. The hero complains, finishes his drink, and storms off. I am mixing scenes, but you get the gist. 

That is how we drank that night. Within the first five minutes, I had finished two glasses of whiskey. Within half an hour, all that whiskey was already out of my body. Alas it was not the magical experience that I had imagined. I didn’t drink for a year. I researched. Became acquainted with the true conventions of drinking whiskey. Learned the importance of time, water, and food. Now I am a painfully slow and limited drinker.

Am I going to burn in hell for drinking? I suppose I will find out one day. Until then. Cheers! P.S. I love bacon.