Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New Policy: World's highest drinking age and how to deal with it

Maharashtra Government recently introduced new policy  on drinking age. Well, it was 21 as minimum age for drinking. Now they have raised age bar to 25, which is world's highest. Most of countries worldwide has policies in between 18-21.

I have been wondering about it for few days. I didn't understand what caused someone to introduce this policy. I am damn sure that the policy will make things worse, if it does anything at all. Anyone can make sense out of it. 

I went to recall some statistical fact. In Pune alone, there are around 80 millions people living. In India, more than 60% of population is under 25. That comes close to 48 millions who are under 25 in Pune alone. I think most of people start to drink from the age of 15. So, the total number of drinkers between age 15-25 is 19.2 millions (almost 20 millions). This figure must be just double in Mumbai. Now, total 15-25 aged drinkers is about 60 millions. About same numbers of youths must be living in rest of Maharashtra. Hello 100 millions bright young drinkers!

Now let's talk some of things related. Policy by default, is introduced to make things better (At least this is what policymakers think) But good intention is vague term. This policy will fail badly because it is not applicable. Drinking is rooted in human civilization. In fact it is one of thing which evolved with time. People drink simply because drinking is need as well as want.  Many scholars have done research about it and most of them agree that drinking is good for health. (Over addicted is obviously not good). Basic human needs evolve over the time. In stone age, human used stones to hunt and make fire to keep them warm. They didn't have other materials. Things changed. Now we have so many things that are essential. We can't live without them. I need vehicle to move, internet and mobile to communicate, verities of foods to eat and fancy apartment to live. None of our forefathers enjoyed the life I have. Same as that. Human used fruit juice as drink. Later they learned to make different drinks out of it. Now we have hundreds of drinks branded within our reach. This has been our need.  Let's put it this way; it has been our basic human need.  And it is basic want/need of 15-25 aged. This is most active age group, thus highest needs and wants. Simple as that.

So Government is trying to make our basic need illegal. I am damn sure that making it illegal won't stop men/women from their need/wants. Making brothels illegal had never stopped gentlemen to visit again and again. This hadn't happened in human history. They will drink. They will have fun same way they used to. But problem here will be that all of us are going to be forced 'criminal'. The policy will not stop ill things, but make it worse and we 'bright young'  will be dark criminal. Some officers must be silently partying somewhere. A new regulation means, a new way of milking money out of people. Even cops in street must be cheering. They had to check driving license, now they will just see someone's face and start to show 'Mahadev ka tin netra'.

There is another irony. People are given voting right at the age of 18. Basic assumption is that they are mature enough and they can take their own decision. The same person whom those 18+ voted, now thinks that 18+s can't decide on drinking. If that is true, 18+s didn't know who is the good, the bad and the idiot. The voted for last one.

I used word 'criminal' here. Don't worry. There is way out of it. 100 million 'bright young' can rule the world.  Here are some ways we can keep having fun, legally.

  1. Drink at home. Freeze it, drink like hell. This will be no fun if you live with family. Otherwise, this is the best way to keep having fun. Most of people live off the family in this age I think or you can find a friend's house as well as company. That's your right to do whatever you want inside home right?
  2. Want to visit bars? Make some ID cards which states your age above 25. Don't know applicability, but this can be tricky.
  3. Avoid bar zones. Those places where there are so many bars and pubs. You know cops might be around. Instead, you can visit less popular places. If you happen to be in those bar zones, leave earlier than closing time.
  4. Drive down to Goa/Karnataka. I have heard that Goa offers excellent drinking culture. Obviously this is not what Goa is recognized for,  but this can be most exciting thing to do. Karnataka is also no too far way.
  5. Visit some Concan beaches, pack some drinks and enjoy! There are some of the best beaches, some are completely out of crowd. Best place to spend weekend. And it's not far from both Pune and Mumbai.

What else? Shoot out on comment section. Share if you have any other ideas? May be we will make things better over the time :)

PS:  I think if the country is young, it should believe on youths. India has badly realized that restrictions and regulations can do no good. In fact it makes things worse. This is single lesson the country learned since Independence to 1991. After that, India was freed partially, and it flew in the sky. Freedom is good thing, and it starts with an individual.

( I recommend an excellent article on Tehelka Magazine: Man Can't handle drink, at any age)