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Monday, October 25, 2010

The Drunk

I threw up again ,the stink rose through my nose hitting my befuddled brain ,even in that state it was revolting ,
The smell of vomit with booze in it and lots of it too is always revolting
All the more if one was lying in a gutter with bilious liquid dirt flowing all around you
Where was I ?
Of late this question had always popped up in my mind clearing the fumes of whisky from my gray cells for a moment ,a fleeting moment when I saw myself and felt disgusted
How long had I sat in the bar ,did I fight with the waiter ,I remember being pushed and kicked by some people there when I had almost fallen on the waiters feet and clung to it begging for a peg more ,empty bottles paraded in front of my eyes The black and red labels ,the vodkas gins rums and later when my wallet emptied the local stuffs those which threw you into the air with the punch ,the sweet release it gave took me into a world so different ,a hazy fog laden dreamland where reality disappeared and one lived like a caliph in surreal exuberance .
Where the hourbis danced for you as the finest of the wines flowed ,where the tongue grew into a snake and explored the nooks and corners of language playing with words and terms and places unknown and un begotten
This was world where there was no barriers nothing kept you back ,one was unleashed into freedom to act to do and to say ,there were no etiquettes here no social niceties bothered you there were no worries like a blanket thrown on fire they just smoked inside you and never popped out
For ages it had been like that this liquid would burn its way into the thoughts and actions of people and change them like nothing else ,it was not the benumbed state of the drug world where one was in a state different that was like death and rebirth for I had meddled with that too to get better punches ,but this was a world unlike anything else .
Little did I think I would become part of this world ,the one that I despised and the one whose inhabitants I scorned and cursed to the depths of hell as the dark side of society ,I was always against taking drinks and would opt for softer ones even in parties where it flowed and friends would prod me to have a drink ,I was never attracted to it to me it was something which would change my senses from me and that was something forbidden and dangerous
How did I of all persons become the drunk I am today !
Was it the bout of happiness or the pangs of sadness or the yearning of lonliness that took me through this dark path to hell I don’t remember much these days everything is befuddled and strangely abstract there are no more clear tones to my life it has taken a softer and hazier look with the edges blurred all the thought process is there only in my efforts to get my next drink ,remember having sold most of the belongings including the house to meet my piling debts many cheated me and exploited my helplessness my family left my wife tired of my violence and strange behaviour ,digusted with my intermittent apologies and bouts of violent drunkenness, my darling children were afraid of me and my friends shunned me and looked away when they saw me ,I had fallen to the depths ,all efforts to pull me out of the pit were failures the temples the swami is, the hospitals all gave respite for a short time with me going back to the pleasures of Bacchus like a good Samaritan who returned .
And today I have woken up in this gutter smelling my vomitus
The few coins in my torn shirt pocket jangled as I tried to get a hold on the edges of the gutter and pull myself out ,finally I managed to extricate myself and lay on the roadside it was raining washing away my dirt but not my sins ,I didn’t realize there were tears of remorse too mingling with the wetness of my cheeks ,my children grew large and my heart welled with deep sadness at my sorry state
where am I today from the brilliant marketing manager with the stars in his eyes and racing up in his career to a street drunk in the gutters my job had gone first ,my boss needed no excuse to kick me out as he knew I would surpass him one day with my skills so he did his best in the early days of my habit ,money was no problem then and friends too I had loads as I had saved a bit ,a palatial bungalow and a couple of cars ,the jarring lectures by the wife and the strange looks by the children were the only things that gave me a guilt but I just passed it off for the pleasure.
I knew when to stop and I would ,was my oft repeated statement and as far as the job was concerned I had so many offers .only thing nothing fructified nobody wanted a wino working for them and slowly my reserves dwindled and so did my good time friends they just vanished into thin air like genies
There were willing lenders who slowly and steadily took away my properties my family left me as I was unlivable I moved into a single room slum apartment drinking my days and nights off
To me that was the only life I knew and the days went ahead in a flurry of swallowing and vomiting the vile liquid. I hardly ate if at all it was only those spicy snacks that came in bars and arrack shops I needed to nibble them to swallow the bitters
I was a looker at one time turning heads with a resemblance to the local cine idol but now my hair had fallen become grey and was all muddled up my gaunt cheeks and wasted body made me look like an Auschwitch survivor and I had lost a couple of my fine white teeth being kicked by characters in bars .
Most of the bars knew me and had tolerated me a lot ,slowly their patience had fallen as I never paid the bills and was in their tables till late in the night and became a nuisance
So that was my state I was as deep as possible in the shit as one could be

I felt someone offering me a hand then ,surprising somebody would do that to drunk on the street ,I took the offer for I wanted to rise from the slush ,it felt soft and was the hand of a teenager ,it was familiar too and then it struck me it was my son how did he come here and at this time of the night he was 15 of course but still they lived far away
was I dreaming ?
“ Papa come “ he took me into an auto there was somebody else with him an older person he moved to make room for me and we chugged off through the lanes
I slumbered still clouded in my thoughts and was shaken awake after some time I went in to the house of probably the person who came with my son I was taken to washroom given new dresses and I remember lying on the soft beds and then it was bliss
Till I woke up and ached for my peg I looked around the room frantically searching for my habit and was about to burst out when the man accosted me and made me sit on the bed
He was stern and talked to me succinctly some no nonsense words
his child studied with my son, he was in the armed forces taken retirement now and in business he would be taking me to RHIMA the deaddiction centre in Kochi west run by the Indian medical association ,he had to do this for he had promised my son who had come to him and wept a few days back and he was somebody who didn’t go back on their word ,he was a man who one did not argue with
I gave a sarcastic laugh and told him had been to many such places and nothing much happened
I would go back to drinks I knew, he said try this once too for the sake of your family your son and this did the trick my heart went out to my son and his soft hands
shortly we were in Rhima and Mr Mohandas the manager gave me the briefs and the rules ,
A doctor assessed me they gave me some pills to stop my craving and some food and I fell asleep
The first few days as always was hell I treid all the tricks in the book to get a drink even trying to bribe the other inmates but nothing worked Rhima was firm and at the same time soft with its inmates .
slowly I fell into the pace and with other inmates lived along without drinks a small surprise for more that 20 days my son came with his friends father and he seemed happy to see me presentable
I had shaved and worn clean clothes and regained some semblance of my old self
I attended the meets the gatherings did some gardening slept a lot and days flew.
I left the place in a month ,somehow this time it worked I had a difficult time in the first six months but Mohandas was there just a call away and most of my friends in the A A meets were there to help me and prevent my fall into the pit again
it is now along 6 months since Rhima saved me I got a small job and moved into a better place my son visits me but my family has still not moved down
the hurt is deep and would take more time
slowly my debts are dwindling and the sun is up in the horizon thanks to my son and RHIMA

............Was written for RHIMA Deaddiction centre Cochin run by Indian medical assn cochin West my branch


Bindu said...

Harietta, good work.May your writings enlighten those who have this devil drinking habit.Some words were touching"wife tired of my strange behaviourand my darling children afraid of me".I PERSONALLY KNOW 2 SUCH PERSONS WHO RECOVERED & ARE NOW RESPOSIBLE HUSBANDS.

harimohan said...

yes bindhu
I too know some close people who went through such xperiences

Maddy said...

that was very poignant - hari..too much of anything is no good...

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