If you tell me that Old Monk is just “another” drink, I will seriously feel offended, and would even punch you. Sorry. However I will forgive you for your innocence and your ignorance. To his devotees like me, Old Monk is much more than a bottle of alcohol. OM, as I fondly call him, is a long-lasting tradition. It is a celebration of friendship. It is a celebration of life.
When you are with the Monk, an ordinary day transforms into a magical night. Your friends become your blood brothers. Emotions overflow and the atmosphere becomes nostalgic. Enemies become tolerable. Hate converts to love. Love converts to more love. There are conversations. There are confessions. There is truth exploding in every direction. Small talks become heavy talks, and you become serious about politics and global warming. You throw a mouthful of gandi gaalis, pull each other’s legs, and go blah, blah, blah all night long. There is always so much laughter, fun and pure joy when the Monk is in the house!
My association with the Monk started more than a decade ago in dilli ki sardi. Bad, bad, New Delhi. Those days I had just started to experiment with daru (good spirits Mommy!), so I was into sunny drinks like Bacardi Breezer, gin and wine. OM was a little heavy for my taste, but I still remember that I instantly liked it. I did the ubiquitous duo Rum with Cola, like Romeo and Juliet they are forever blended in love. Fortunately then, most of my friends and colleagues were rum drinker, errr…monk loyalists. So much that they would go to Gurgaon to pick up a khamba – it was cheaper there – and if Gurgaon thekas were sold out, then immediately head out to Faridabad. Now Gurgaon to Faridabad is quite a distance, about 45 km one way. Riding on a Bajaj Pulsar or Honda CBZ in the night, in the freaking 5 degree C just to get hold of monk da bottle, was another adventure for me. Forget boys, even my girlfriends were avid rum drinkers. Again, rum was synonymous with Old Monk. I especially remember my girlfriend “s”, and our adda sessions at her house in Malviya Nagar. There was this another girl “m”, and we used to party in her car after office…drink OM, eat momos, listen to rock music and sing along.
The love affair with the Monk continues even now, here in the US. My husband too is a fan. We don’t drink regularly, but in winters, OM is like your BFF so we keep a bottle at hand’s reach. A piece of India standing tall in our bar. And we open it up whenever one of us has had a hard day or a good day or if it’s cold or not cold. It’s okay, God will forgive me. Monk is a painkiller; it heals, it soothes, and magically turns any Friday into a Good Friday. One of our good friends “r” is also a big fan, and once in a while, three of us get together with the Monk all night long. When we meet otherwise, we have nice conversations, but with the Monk, those conversations get pretty interesting!
My friends…wife may leave you, girlfriend may ditch you, or life may fail you, but the Monk will never disappoint you. There is too much chaos in the world, isn’t it, but with the Monk you’ll find all the peace. So, just chill, meditate with the monk, and keep chanting…OM Shanti OM.
Glossary of Indian spirits and foods.
Gandi gaalis – cheap jokes
Dilli ki sardi – The winters in Delhi
Daru – Alcohol
Khamba – 750 ml bottle
Theka – Roadside shops that sell alcohol
Monk da bottle – Bottle of Old Monk
Adda – Get together
Momos – Dumplings