Bottled Down

From within the surreal depths of my ephemeral subconscious, wait wait, I don’t need to show off today, it’s stream of consciousness week, no need for cascades of grandiosity.

Now, the depths. My butt nestled in the deep undulating trough that made up the centre of my bed. No, that wasn’t the depth I wanted to rant about. It’s that of my consciousness, or rather the lack of it. Yes, that was it!

‘Cos, it was from there that transpired the shrill sounds of “Butra Milk!”

The railway platform vendors. Haven’t they procreated a language all their very own over the years?

Buttera Milk, Saamousey, Cutaaleeet, Sodalu…

Normally annoying these calls. Why were they a tad inviting today? Why is my consciousness conjuring up images of dirty railway station vendors, brownish white packets of grainy buttermilk and questionable pink straws?

Ah, that bottle. The bottle of whiskey that I downed last night. Of course. The bottle that will be the death of me.

I started consciously enough. Timing every peg, inspecting every measure of the not so fine malt and the soda, even the two cubes that should along with it.

Alas, it was a stream that never ran out. After the first few, shit starts to get real. The head starts dancing, bobbing, all on its own. The tongue starts lashing out, the syllables start loosening up. The peg count goes out the freaking window.

Linearity takes a backseat. Every new peg is like an element of the Fibonacci series. Each drink as potent as the sum of its predecessors.

Ah, an ant on my wall. Climbing up, or is it burrowing itself into the same spot on my wall? Strange, don’t remember ever seeing wildlife in my habitat. Boy, it takes a bottle of whiskey all the way from the moors of Scotland to awaken my senses, here, in Gachibowli.

The memory of the ex flits dangerously close to me. Teasing, tantalizing even. A battle at hand. I’m the hero the battle needs but does not deserve. My weapon of choice – the phone of course.

It looms into view. Was it there all this time? Or did it sashay into my line of vision at this eventful juncture? This moment of reckoning, where a drunken night potentially turns into a week of embarrassment to follow?

This whiskey, this daaru, mandu, why the hell is the Telugu word for alcohol and general medicine the same? Damn mother language. No! No, no!

No thoughts of maternity, not now! That stream leads to a guilt trip.

Ha, guilt trip! How wonderful would a Lemon Tart taste right now! Awfully good! Smashing! Ha, like a basket in an Enid Blyton picnic lunch!

But it must be Butra Milk now. Ain’t no chance for tarts.

That ridiculous whiskey, how it builds a bridge, brick by brick with the first few drinks, then races across that very bridge at full speed. The road stock full of mirages, mirages one part imaginary water, two parts dreadful whiskey.

Of course, I’m being predictable. I call it dreadful but last night I was locked in a warm embrace with it. A faithful wife warming my bed or a booty call? Hmm? I don’t know which one it is, I just know I need it.

The bottle has a booty after all. I don’t drink from self-righteous whiskey bottles that stand tall and straight. I love the ones with the booties! The curvy ones, where peg measurement is shrouded among the contours of the sensual figure of the glass.

God, I must still be sloshed. Sensuality in a whiskey bottle? My stream is veering way off course.

It would still be fine. Romancing the bottle at night, waking up to delirious calls of “Butra Milk” or other soft beverages, wincing at the tiniest human sound emitted, this is all good, bearable. It will take a day or the next bottle to wear off the hangover.

But the first step towards the liberation of the drunken soul is checking the mobile phone. The weapon now lay waste, as if it had fought a thousand battles all night, now licking its wounds.

What did that ridiculous liquor make me do last night with my phone? Was I going to be red-faced all coming week?

I fished around for my phone on the trough-like bed.

My outstretched finger collided against the expanse of my tummy. I poked curiously at it. It bobbed around like an engorged piece of jelly. I could feel the swish of whiskey swirl around at my prodding, whirling around like a torrential pool. It finally settled itself back into place, resigned to my stomach’s boundaries.

My fingers finally found the phone. Heavy laden with last night’s guilt. My trembling fingers picked it up and opened the dialed calls.

Damn! There it is! I knew it! Damn the alcohol!

The last ten something calls, at the dead of the night, from the depths of the bottle to the contact.

She That Should Not Be Named.

The contact’s name glared back at me. DO NOT CALL.

I wish the trough in my bed went deeper, I feel like digging myself into it, shunning civilization. Go away! Arggh! This whiskey, what a bitch!

As if on cue, the phone starts ringing! God, the other kind of bitch! DO NOT CALL was calling. Eyes shut in shame I pick up.

Hoarse male laughter rushes into my ear. What?! A hungover head cannot comprehend.

“Got drunk again? Ass.”

Nothing to respond. Mind haywire. Stream way off course. Why was this bastard on DO NOT CALL? Where’s that Buttera Milk when I need it most?

“You don’t remember changing the number to mine, do you?”

Oh yes! Of course. Phew!

Trailing peals of laughter on the phone as I heave a sigh of great hungover relief. A liberated soul!

Time for Butter Milk! Time for Lamakaan!

Write Club Hyderabad – December 2017 – Stream of Consciousness.

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