Sunday, March 23, 2008

My beer cap overfloweth

My beer cap overfloweth

"Shall I open another beer dear?"

The first time I heard these magical words were some two months back. Since then I have heard them so often that I have to share the good news with all of you. Here's where it all began.

It was a Sunday afternoon. I was having my regular Sunday afternoon beer at my parents' place in Aldona while watching TV. I was just starting on my second glass when my wife Beatrice walks in and asks, ""Shall I open another beer dear?".

I willingly accepted, but found this query most strange. This is the woman who has consistently, for the last nine years, tried to force me to have less booze than I would like - whatever the quantity. If I decide to have a second peg of Caju Feni she will insist that one is quite enough. If I decide that I could do with a second beer she will sound suitably shocked that I finished an entire (650ml) beer myself so fast, and will immediately serve me a meal so I can't drink anymore. I don't normally drink after meals.

I checked the date on my watch. Was it April Fool? No. Was it my birthday? No. Was it her birthday? No. Our wedding anniversary? No. Not being one to count the teeth of a gift horse, I resigned myself to the tenacious possibility that maybe she had decided to enthusiastically accept what she cannot change. So I did not question Beatrice when she generously refilled my second glass of beer.

Now one would think that whole incident was uncharacterestic enough for one day.
Hardly had I sipped this my third glass of beer, and congratulated myself on this extraordinary change of attitude, my Mum walks in and asks, "Would you like some more beer?". Hello! What's happening here. This is the woman who for my entire adult life had been telling me to cut down on my alcohol consumption. And here she was actually offering me more beer? This could not be happening. This could not be true.
Now I smelt a rat.

Warily I replied "Sure. Why not!", just to see what would happen, and sure enough my Mom walks in with a freshly opened beer and fills my glass to the brim. Mom actually tilted my glass and poured from the side of the glass so I got maximum liquid and less froth. How unlike normal. This was beginning to sound like a day dream which would end all to soon. I actually pinched myself to make sure it was not a dream. It wasn't. The chilled beer was exquisite.

Casually I ventured into the kitchen where Beatrice and my Mom were preparing lunch. Both of them had a full beer glass each standing near their respective cutting boards. I cursorily examined the beer glasses. Sure on an occasional Sunday they would have a dash of a tiny glass of wine or a little 'shandy'. But this was pure beer and not a soft-drink with a hint of beer, which was what a normal 'shandy' at my house comprised of. I opened the fridge to see one entire shelf stacked with about ten beers. Except on festive occasions, or when guests were expected, I don't recall a time at my parents house when there were more than two beers ever in the fridge. What was happening here?

I asked my Mum what was all this beer consumption about and was very quickly educated. Apparently Belo beer had a scheme going. Under each Belo beer cap is a prize. From a minimum of a guaranteed Rs. 2/-, one can win Rs. 5/-, Rs. 10/-, a 325 ml beer, a 650 ml beer, Rs. 10,000/- and even Rs. 50,000/-. But I knew this all along. The difference being that a local Aldona boy had recently won Rs. 10,000/-. And everyone seemed to be getting at least two beers and quite some cash back in every crate. So everybody in Aldona was enthusiastically drinking Belo beers these days.

And the enthusiasm got carried from Aldona to my flat in Miramar. For the last few weeks not only is Beatrice encouraging me to drink beer she actually goes to the wine shop with the empties and picks up a new Belo crate once the previous one is over. Of course she insists on opening the bottles herself and I do not deny her that little pleasure. She encourages me to get beer-drinking pals over. I get a chilled glass of beer handed over to me when I return home from work. I have my wife sharing beer with me occasionally - just so much so it justifies opening one more bottle for me. I'm not complaining. I'm rejoicing.

And I'm inviting you all over for some beer.


Jun 8, 2005

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