A few weeks back I joined a few [new] friends at a party. A bunch of really great guys. They welcomed me [and a friend of mine] with open arms; it never felt like it was the first time with them. May I remind you something about “mallus”! We party! We party hard! And when we do, it most certainly involves alcohol! :)
So 9 of us cramped into the tiny little room. Disposable glasses were passed around, empty cases of Brylcreem were placed in the centre as ash-trays, and the homemade chicken already had us drooling [Peppy is an awesome cook!]. The bottle was pulled out of its classic black polyethene bag to cheers. After all necessary rituals were done [they range from “tapping the bottle thrice” to “dedicating the first drops to ancestors”] they were made into pegs! The interesting thing to note is that, almost everyone holds their breath at this point. A silent prayer is sent up by each - “God, please don’t let me make a fool of myself in front of everyone”, “Help me forget my worries”, “Let me enjoy this moment”, “Hope I wont puke this time”, etc…
The first peg was poured out and topped with either, water, cola, or at times – with nothing – CHEERS! Suddenly there are smiles all around, all are talking at the same time creating unbearable noise, and nobody cares about the neighbor’s kid or the heartless landlord who lives downstairs anymore.
All these are the common happenings at a Mallu party, wherever you go. One thing was different with this particular party though. As everyone took their first sip and basked in the feeling of the “amrut” trickling down, an announcement is made – “We will not discuss anything that is even vaguely related to Politics, Movies, or Religion as long as this party is on.” I looked around. Nobody thought it was weird that such a statement was made. In fact, it was greeted with more cheers and hoots! As good as the party was and as much fun I had, I could not bring myself to forget this.
Politics is vicious and vile [and I am not very good at it ;)] and therefore is an unnecessary topic at a party. And of course, different people had different views on different parties and politicians. It was the same with movies. Not everyone had the same actor or director as his favorite. But what I fail to understand is, how is it that modern India and its youth still have a problem with its diversity in religion. At that very moment, in that room, there were 2 Muslims, a Christian and a few Hindus. And as far as I can say, we all are going to be friends for life, Insha Allah! Then why is it that we are afraid of religion. Why is it stopping us from bonding without boundaries?
Some people say that religion was created by stupid men. No. Religion was created by the most brilliant of men. In college, when Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code was headlines, a good friend of mine, Silpi, told me that religion is only a guideline to keep the animal in man under control, nothing more. How true! You are not supposed to follow it blindly or not follow it at all. Religion is needed to keep man in check. But power-hungry leaders manipulated it according to their wish to create religion as we know it now.
It really does not bother me that religious wars are being fought. At least not as much at it bothers me that young Indians dread discussing that topic. I am not saying that it is a topic to be discussed over booze. But, I long to see the day when there is nothing to discuss about religion. When a carefree Indian generation will say – “Religion, What’s the big deal about it?” I am not an atheist. When a friend of mine goes on a pilgrimage to Sabarimala, I ask him to keep me in his prayers. I do the same when one leaves for Velankanni or on Umrah. I believe I am blessed as long as my friends take a few seconds to pray for me. “Some of my best friends are Muslims”, I tell my friend. He says, “Keep yours views to yourself!” Nothing hurts me more than hearing this from a guy who eats KFC, wears Nike, drives a Honda, and plays progressive trance music as loud as he can. And we have the guts to call ourselves the “hip and happening of India”!
All said and done, now I return from Utopia. It all made perfect sense now. Just because these topics were avoided at that party, I had one of the best times of my life. Now, I am at another party. The bottle is open. Clink! [This time no paper cups!] I make the announcement – “There will be no discussion on Politics, Movies or Religion in this party!” Another round of cheers and hoots go around. Nobody asks a question. The music is turned up and the drinks keep coming. I say to myself – The Party is ON!!!