Coming from Australia, knowing how to properly pour a beer is as integral as knowing how to cook dinner. Ending up with too much froth on the top is guaranteed to bring ridicule. Therefore, you can imagine how disbelieving I was to see this beer on the flight back to Mumbai, from Bangkok, recently. It was poured by an Indian shopkeeper who had gone there on a buying trip with three shop owners.
I found it hard to resist showing him how to pour the beer, and I probably would’ve given him a lesson if I was sitting next to him. However, I’d asked my husband to swap seats with me as soon as the row had been filled up by these four Indian men. In hindsight, it was a wise move because the alcohol made them rather animated to say the least.
Mr shopkeeper proceeded to make himself a beer cocktail by combining it with a glass of orange juice, while the shop owners called for repeated rounds of whiskey. Mr shopkeeper then reached up and pulled a packet of namkeen out of his luggage in the overhead compartment. It was eagerly passed around. One of the shop owners decided to employ some good ole Indian jugaad, and used an in-flight magazine as a plate. He licked his fingers and wiped them all over the magazine to get every last bit of namkeen into his mouth.
It wasn’t long before their requests for more alcohol were denied. “Tell that bitch to bring us some more,” one of the shop owners encouraged the other. (Thanks to my husband for that translation).
My husband had wanted to join in the namkeen eating, but didn’t want to be associated with the dukundars in case he was also denied more wine. Meanwhile, I’d bonded with a lovely Indian male flight attendant over a mutual dislike of paneer, and he kept filling my glass to the brim with it.
The dukandars did get more whiskey. And, to make sure they got paisa vasool, giggled as they sneakily poured it into empty water bottles to take away and drink later.
The wine went straight to my head, and I found their behaviour quite disgustingly hilarious. But yes folks, it’s undoubtedly the reason why alcohol is not served on domestic flights in India!
© 2012, Diary of a White Indian Housewife. All rights reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.
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