As part of everyday life as a homo sapien in the 21st century, one of man’s primary responsibilities is to deal with assholes.
It’s a natural, evolutionary process. Early Man had to deal with wild animals, forest fires, and Anil Kapoor’s chest hair. The modern man is saddled with the responsibility of dealing with assholes around him. It has to be done.
And to live in the 21st century in a country like India, means it is open season for assholes. There’s the guy who waves at you from the train while taking a dump on the tracks. Then there’s the guy who decides to enthrall you with a vintage Kumar Sanu number when you walk past him, throwing in a few animal smooching noises for few. Then there are the guys who walk past a long line in waiting, and quickly dart into the line like they’re avoiding Agent Smith.
As a race, we have learnt to adapt to some of them. Devised ways to deal with such kinds, worked our way around their habits. But if there is one category of assholes that I simply cannot make my peace with, it is the kind who smash beer bottles after drinking.
Just why would someone do something like that?
A beer is not just any other drink. It is a slow, drawn-out process, liking writing a poem, or finishing a painting.
Imagine all the drinks to be cricketers in the dressing room in the 90s. There is Whiskey, the Sachin Tendulkar of the lot. Loved by all, revered by some, worshipped by many. Then there’s Rum – flashy, an aura around it that commands respect, the Ganguly. There’s Tequila, the Sehwag madness that comes, shoots, and leaves.
Beer is the Rahul Dravid.
Beer doesn’t begin by hooking the first ball over long-on for six. You have to spend time with it, take a few sips, and talk. And then slowly, a beautiful innings is created. It is a cover drive on a sunny morning at Lord’s. The kind that sends the knocking sound of the ball across the ground.
You don’t pour your beer into glasses. No pouring it out, measuring, mixing. You raise the bottle, and gulp down its contents. Drinking beer is perhaps the only drinking custom that has remained intact after centuries. There’s no adding flavours, making cocktails, shaking, setting it on fire, or any of that crap. You raise it, put it near your mouth, and guzzle down the divine nectar.
Why on earth would you want to smash the bottle to smithereens after that?
I have always wondered what sort of machismo is proven by breaking a bottle of beer! It doesn’t involve high risk – the bottle will break even if it slipped from your hand. So why then the deep urge to smash it?
There are so many wonderful things you could do with an empty bottle. Find a stick – one that’s not too thick – and use it to drum on your bottle. It gives off a nice, clinking sound that’s hard to find elsewhere. Then one could also tie the bottle to the branch of a nearby tree, to serve as beacons for fellow revelers. The bottles will light up in green and brown luminescence every time there’s light, showing the path to brothers with parched throats.
If you are the noble sort, you could keep the bottles and give them to a rag-picker, who could sell it for a few rupees? What could be more uplifting than having a beer and doing a good deed at the same time?
If you choose none of the above, simply carry the bottles back to your room. Use them to fill water, and watch people stare in amazement as you sip off the bottle first thing in the morning. There’s no end to the possibilities thrown up by an empty bottle of beer.
And yet, every time I have a beer, there’s that one guy who is hell bent on reversing millennia of human intelligence in a few seconds. By flinging his bottle into the distance, and craning his neck to hear it shatter.
Yay!! Happy Birthday, you fucking idiot.
Of course, one might argue that it is beyond reason and logic. Just an animalistic urge to fling the bottle, to hear it burst into a thousand pieces. A drinking ritual of the modern age. I have no problem with that.
This is what I have a problem with.
I take my beer and find my spot.
One that isn’t very hot, preferably with shade above, a breeze if god is kind. I sit down, get comfortable, and open my beer. Take a sip, feel it go down my invariably parched throat, when a piece of glass cuts through my jeans and gnashes at my ass.
That, my friends, is not cool. It is torture. It is not just the pain. It is the fact that you’re completely lost in the beautiful moment, and taken unawares in a cruel way.
Just because some asshole decided to have a beer, and thought it was a cool ritual to shatter it to a thousand pieces. To hear it burst, the satisfaction of the sound.
Animalistic urge, it seems!