Monday, March 16, 2009

Should this boy be afraid to drink?

During my school days there were campaigns which discouraged people from consuming alcohol products (ಹೆ೦ಡ ಸರಾಯಿ ಸಹವಾಸ, ಹೆ೦ಡತಿ ಮಕ್ಕಳ ಉಪವಾಸ : If you get addicted to alcohol, your family will starve). Alcohol was a taboo and consuming it was by no means a matter of pride. I am not sure if such campaigns are conducted these days, but last heard was a newspaper report quoting Karnataka CM BS Yadiyurappa saying “Drink but don’t dance”. I do not know what’s so great about these drinks and never cared to try one as I still believe it is a bad idea. But it appears not many people around think so and anyone advocating against alcohol will be bombarded with statements like “What’s wrong in drinking?”, “Everyone has a right to decide what’s good and bad for him/her”, “it’s a symbol of personal freedom”, “how dare someone tell us it is bad” and so on.

If going to pubs, having drinks and partying till early morning is a way of chilling out/expressing freedom/having good time for city’s youth, should the kids in villages be left behind?

I accidently landed upon this photograph from one of my albums-a local boy secretly consuming some alcohol product hiding behind the rocks in Antaragange, a village near Kolar district of Karnataka. I’d clicked this photo last December while on a cave exploration expedition in Antaragange. After seeing this photo few thoughts came to my mind. Just listing them below. Share your opinion

• Should we have some hesitation in declaring what is doing is “not right” or do you feel we shouldn’t criticize him?
• If this boy feels it is right for him to drink alcohol in broad day light right inside his home or school, should we (society in general, parents and family in particular) support him?
• If his mother gives him money to buy food for family and he buys liquor for himself instead-is that right?
• When this boy grows up, becomes a drunkard and beats his wife every day, should we ignore that as a family matter?
• Or should we say, only those with high income who can afford to go to pubs can drink while rest (low income group who spend their all day earnings on local arrack) should be prevented from drinking?
• Should we warn him- "don't drink now-you should be 18 years+ for that" and subsequently issue a drinking license (like driving license) to those 18+ ones who wish to buy alcohol?
• If someone (his family members/teacher/senior citizens of the village) find him consuming alcohol and warn him will it be a violation of his freedom?
• If he was your son/brother how would you react?
• Assume there is also a girl in the frame-his sister or classmate-who is also drinking. How do you feel? Feel good that boys and girls have achieved equality or feel bad for girls also falling into ‘what once was believed to be bad’ habit?

Please treat this post as an independent one and not linked to certain developments related to this topic. Your thoughts please.


Mohan said...

I certainly wouldn't want to blame this kid. It is not his fault in my view. The kind of environment in which he has grown up must have influenced him. All I can say is guide him and his parents/guardians through some counseling on how to be a better citizen.

Also, it would be a wrong assumption to say when he grows up, he would beat his wife and starve his kids. All it requires is one silver line.. Hope something of that sort happens to this kid as well as many such similar kids.

binnyva said...

I don't know if I would call it good or bad - but I would defiantly call it stupid. Drinking alcohol has no practical gain - and it comes with a lot of potential problems..

Would I criticize the boy? No - its none of my business.

createam said...

First of all there is no direct link between drinking and beating wives. It happens in villages because of their lack of education and economic conditions.
There is something called responsible drinking, where you ensure that you getting drunk will not affect anyone else. If it affects anyone else other than you then its bad. Best example is drunken driving.
There are rules of the land which has to be respected. Legal drinking age is not 18 all over India but varies in different states. When we talk about freedom, lets not forget that freedom comes with responsibility and responsibility definitely requires education and certain experiences in life (which requires you to be of certain age). That must be the same reason why a young guy is not allowed to vote, its not an infringement on his freedom but its a judgment based on the fact that he may not be old enough to decide. The drinking age, the driving age all these are based on the fact that young minds are not matured enough to be responsible enough.
In the same line of thought, that guy in the picture drinking is not good. He doesn't have the right mind to decide on drinking. Is it his mistake? No, its the person/place who sold him the drink who should be guilty. In US, legal age for drinking is 21 and one cannot buy drinks or enter a bar unless you are 21. One should carry a state ID to prove that you're 21. Its not a drinking ID but a general ID which can be used anywhere as your identification. These rules are enforced strictly. Its the same case with drunken driving (called driving under influence, DUI). If you're found guilty of DUI, you'll end up paying heavy fine (you may get detained too, but I'm not sure about this) and your driver's record will have a permanent black mark. It will have a cascading effect on everything. Your insurance premium will go high because insurance companies decide that you're not safe and responsible enough. Its these rules and effects of that rule which reduces crime.
In our case, all we have is rules which nobody knows. Nobody implements these rules. People who sell alcohol to minors can be detained by police, but I've never heard a single incident. For that matter we don't have anything which mandates us to carry an ID.
Personal freedom is a very tricky question indeed.

Anonymous said...

Hi Srinidhi,
How are you?
It's been some time since i commented on your posts. This topic has been very close to my heart. I am the only male member in my family who does not smoke nor ever smoked. In fact, i even went to the extent of opposing my own members as far as to preach that if you want to smoke, smoke outside the house but not in front of women or children for they know not what is the pleasure you get by smoking.

Most of the onlookers/passive smokers get influenced in one way or the other. Same is the case with the social forum where we both have been members. I kind of observed that someone who is popular in that forum puts up a very inviting self-smoking pic. Lots of youngsters (mostly or rather all girls) keep gifting cigarettes as gifts. I feel sorry for those girls that they think this is the only way to grab attention. :(

However, invariably teenage girls or girls in their early twenties fall prey to such gimmicks and by the time they realise the ill effects, they have already fallen into the trap. In india, it is still not that easy to get in and get out of such habits.

That was about smoking. Why i mentioned smoking was resources for smoking are way easily available than alcohol or any other ill addiction that one can think of. But again its a personal choice. But when people claim to be responisble, they better act responsibly than showing off while understading what they are promoting.

But again, with alcohol, we have local saara which is even more killing. as far as that kid is concerned, if i would ever meet him, i would say go for something that will be good(very pricey) to your health, not something that is easily available.

However, honestly i feel its an overall responsibility of the society. In the US also, now they are planning to bring the age restriction from 21 to 18 years. as most of the accidents caused by drunken students is between the the age group of 18 and 21 years. I don't know how that will really help..

Oh man.. i really vented out with no particular viewpoint :(

Sorry about that.

sandeep said...

I strongly support, Srinidhi.

As most people would get offended by 'moral policing', I guess its gone one level up, where people are getting offended by 'morality'! I had a bad experience where one college kid (with two of his girl friends) was smoking sitting right next to me in a restaurant. I complained to the waiter and he said that I offered me another seat! The funny thing is that the kid is obviously so young and little more than the size of a cigarette. His girl friends seemed more offended with my protests. I, finally had to walk out of the place.

I guess the difference comes coz of the bad ways the moral police (or our health minister) is using. I would any day support peaceful protests against alcohol and smoking.

Thinking again, I am ok with people drinking at homes/pubs ... but for heavens sake, they should not take their bottles and lighters(vodka, beer or even toddy) to forest land and litter them!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

I feel it is difficult to make himself or his parents understand- if you try to explain this kid, he is likely to retaliate insisting its none of your business. If you tell his parents that he was found drinking, they’ll first beat him till he bleeds, without explaining the concerns. Such a beating will only make him more determined to consume more alcohol secretly

My mentioning of his becoming a wife beater was just a remote possibility.

Binny, Golden words…

Your photos are amazing.
Thanks for the detailed comment with lots of valuable information

Welcome back.
Not sure if this kid will opt for ‘expensive but healthy’ option compared to ‘cheap and easily available’

Regarding US do you mean they’re bringing down the age limit from 21 to 18 or increasing from 18 to 21? I guess it is currently 21 years (ref above comment)

Sandesh said...

Had seen the post yesterday itself. Didn't want to leave behind a long comment on your post as usual.

Was busy enough yesterday, not to write a post. Here are my thoughts. Have provided a link to your post as well. check it out!

Shrinidhi Hande said...


Was waiting for you to visit and comment. Detailed and useful post indeed. have linked to it from the post. Thanks

Radhika Ganesan said...

I fully support Srinidhi! I don't appreciate drinking much and as you said - people do retort back with questions like "what is wrong in it?" but i really don't like the idea of NOT being in you control after eating or drinking something ? I would like to say "What is right in drinking ?".
But if at all anybody wants to drink then they should be in control of their habit and do not lose it ever !

Hashir Tufail said...

I totally agree with you. I have never understood why people like to drink, and think that those who drink should also know when to stop

Hashir Tufail said...

P.S. Waise gud to run into you here

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Radhika and Hashir

Thanks. Good to see you too Hashir.

Durga Prasad said...

Hi Srinidhi,

Good post. I had the similar feelings as you about the alcohol. I have seen many celebrating parties only with the alcohol. They say "The real party can only be with alcohol". Some say, "Ahh.. Come on yaar..!! You have try every thing in life".

I always had a question in my mind, "Party can only be celebrated with alcohol or what ?". However, I just don't believe in all this nonsense.

To react about this kid, I would just go to him and slap him right away on his face. From my view, if a kid is having the alcohol secretly, it most probably means that he is almost near to addiction. Even if we try to talk to him about its disadvantages, he is not in an age to understand us.

But again, This is my view. (Not to hurt any one here).

Good work any way.

Durga Prasad.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Durga Prasad,
Appreciate your comment.

Ms said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shrinidhi Hande said...


Good comment.

But I need you to resubmit your comment replacing certain words like w**** , p*********** I'll be deleting the comment after sometime because of these inappropriate words.

Ms Sudha said...

You are free to delete my comment, it is your blog after all. The words I used are not offensive at all and refer to facts of life, after all I ref to the oldest profession in the world in that comment. When a person has to sell his/her morals, it is not a sin just because that is something we would not do.
You wanted a company to sponsor your Himalayan trip even though you could afford to pay for it. And yet you imply people should stop drinking when they are in fact spending their own money. Can you see the double standards? When it is something that brings you pleasure, then all is fair game but you question other adults and their decisions.
You should think about this thing though: did you not agree with my words? Or did you not approve my ideas?

ps:The kid in that photo should not be drinking but it is the responsibility of an authority figure in his life.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

I did not want a company to sponsor my trip- one of the readers suggested it and I've replied in my comment that I'm not comfortable with it. Pls refer to the concerned post if required and clarify where do you find double standards.

I didn't give any verdict on drinking or tried to enforce my opinion- just posted few questions that came to my mind and let readers respond with what they felt.

Age is a criteria- but there's a kannada saying- Gidavagi baggaddu maravagi baggeIte? i.e. if you can't bend it as a plant, will you be able to bend it when it grows up as a tree. when it comes to voting and driving age limit makes sense. but in this case, teenage is the right time to drill into their heads what's good and bad.