Everyone has gotten on to the wagon. Or should The Man from Madras Musings say the bandwagon? He alludes to the recent snowballing support for declaring our beloved State and City completely dry. Nature, or what we did to it, has already made the region water-free and now the powers-that-once-were and the powers-that-want-to-be-in-power are building a groundswell of opinion in favour of completely abolishing the other fluid – the one that cheers. To Hell With TASMAC appears to be their motto. It is noteworthy, however, that the power-that-is is completely silent on the subject.

MMM, who is abstemious to a degree (his only weakness in the wine, women and song trio is the last named), could not care less either way but he does have a kind heart and would like to point out to the lobby that demands the ban on brandy, the whisking away of whisky and abolition of arrack that without these essential commodities, our State may come to a complete halt. For, just as Napoleon (or was it Wellington?) said that an army marches on its stomach, our State and our City operate well only when considerably lubricated.
Take for instance that mega festival that happens once every five years – the general election. How can this be a spirited affair without the distribution of spirits? In the absence of this perquisite, the cadre will be dispirited and newspapers cannot claim that the campaign ended on a high note. In short, the zigzag path to the hustings will be filled with hiccups.

The only option would then be to brew the stuff illegally. MMM has no personal experience but he is informed by those that are in the know that the formula for these home-remedies is taken directly from the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth (fillet of a fenny snake, fingers of a strangled babe, etc.) and the end-result is invariably double double toil and trouble. The potion gives such a kick to those that imbibe it that they permanently move to a higher abode.
Another option would be to take a tip from the wildebeest of Africa that migrate in large numbers in search of watering holes. In this Madras that is Chennai is singularly blessed for it has well endowed neighbours on both sides – the French town that has pretentions of being a State, and the IT metropolis that thinks it still is a garden city. MMM predicts that it won’t be long before our tipplers begin planning visits to these cities on the slightest pretexts.

MMM has had experience of living in other cities that temporarily went dry for various politically correct reasons (these moves are never altruistic). Those who HAD to drink every day in these places were advised to get a medical certificate that stated that they needed to imbibe in order to stay alive. This in turn translated into what was called a permit, which rapidly became the most precious document possible, spawning a whole corruption industry in its procurement. The application form in the national language of the north was evidently created by a rabid dry. The first column asked the applicant to fill in ‘The Alcoholic’s Name’ and the second one ‘Name of Father of Alcoholic’. These terms alone, it was said, turned several hopefuls permanently away from the bottle. As they say, the pen is mightier than the sword.