Forget James Bond. Do you want your martini in your mouth like a spray for asthma?
London, famed for its pubs, will soon have a canister you can carry around, and when you feel the need for a high, it is capable of making you "instantly drunk but wears off after a few seconds". No headache, no hangover. We are told that with WA|HH Quantum Sensations the "shock is immediate, like a sensorial alarm" and it contains just "two millimeters of alcohol, delivers just 0.075 millimeters per dose, a thousand times less than a cocktail."
This sounds like medicine. I don't care much for alcohol, but it is a social rite of passage, it is about bonding, and often becoming less inhibited.
Alcoholism is vile, and there is the danger that people might go berserk. But the spray has no altruistic intent.
I am talking about the journeys gin, rum, whiskey, vodka, wine, champagne, cognac take you on.
It was my first Bloody Mary. The only alcohol I was exposed to until then was brandyforcold. Yes, it registered as one word. A teaspoon of it mixed in warm water. This, too, on vacations.
The other moment was when a bottle of champagne was popped to celebrate some occasion. I loved the drama of the bottle held at an angle, and the spray rising like a wave.
I recall the array of glasses, though. Moulded in wondrous shapes. Tall, squat, rounded, some frosted.
They were placed in a shelf that was with much flair called a bar. It was a single-door beige and white one attached to the wall. The door opened out into a table and a little blue light came on. This was magic. Like walking into a cave and finding these utterly beautiful glasses tinged with the colour of the ocean at night.
So, when I was all grown up and supposedly a woman of the world, I was still excited enough by the sight of Bloody Mary. It was to be nothing less than a vampire act. The salted rim could be sweat condensed.
I was with an older, wiser friend. He was shocked that I treated it as some major event, especially when I slowly let my tongue taste the rim.
I was tipsy with a few sips and said, "I don't want to get drunk."
"In that case, why don't you have lassi instead?"
Ah, well, I don't know whether he said it, but he most certainly could not fathom my logic.
While Bollywood gave the villain and the vamp a menacing edge with a bottle of tipple, there were memorable solitary figures soaking in booze, singing songs of pining. The most memorable one is of Meena Kumari in 'Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam' trying to stop her debauched husband from leaving for one of his nights out by getting drunk and singing,"Na jaao saiyyan, chhuda ke baiyyan, qasam tumhari main ro padoongi..."
No crying would convey as much as this plea - the threat of tears mingles with the potent drink and burns her. Or express how much she burns inside, a flame that refuses to die.
A spray cannot douse sorrow flambéd.