Hell, no! Over the last two years, they’ve been systematically shutting down various bastions of my growing up years. Well, certainly symbols of it. Landmark symbols. Sure, there must be a monetary angle to each decision, but I don’t care, when there are memories involved. And a life without any of them, seems empty. Even if I don’t use them, they’re like comfort food. Take the Ambassador car. More than just a vehicle for us as teenagers, in the late ’70s. Learning how to drive on Worli Sea Face. Countless trips down to Lonavala, without our parents’ knowledge. Sans the Expressway. Up the Ghats. The first accident. The other guy had it worse. The Amby was a tank masquerading as a four wheeler. Then it was the Maruti. We had licences by then. Driving on rage-less streets. Most people’s first car. The HMT watch, that first clunky object on our wrist. Then Titan kicked in with its quartz technology. The folks at HMT, in true public sector style, figured no one would ever switch. Till the day every one really did have the inclination to move, and Titan had the time.
The last is potentially the most devastating. Old Monk rum. Mohan Meakins are blowing hot, blowing cold over its future.
‘The young prefer Bacardi, sales have dropped alarmingly’, one research report tells us. The next report reassures us, ‘Relax, all is well, dear Old Monk lover’
One friend told me, “Beef ban—no worries for me, but rum can’t ‘shut down’!”
Other friends are either madly stocking up bottles or just contemplating suicide.
A childhood friend — now very rich, moves in single malt circles — tells me in secrecy, “Yaar Daku, all this Glenmorangie, Glenlivet, Glenn Mcgrath. Scotland ka whisky sab bada stylish hai. Mujhe apna Old Monk de de, woh hi mere liye theek hai.”
Point is, we were once in the same financial situation, him and I. Both our sets of parents had us on a frugal pocket money system. In an era without mobile phones and hi-tech expenses, cheap food and booze were are only affordable luxuries. And Old Monk was the cheapest option.
The dark rum with Thums Up and Thrill in the ’80s, Pepsi and Coke in the present.
On dry days, restaurants were happy if you to consumed that dark drink, provided you were prepared to top it with a cola, camouflaged from nosey inspectors.
Driving into Mohammed Ali Road after Eid and gorging on nalli nihari, having tanked up on Old Monk cola.
Another friend told me, ‘Dude, I’m on a diet.”
“Great,” I said, “No more Old Monk?”
“You kidding! The Old Monk stays; I’ve replaced the coke with diet coke.”
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.