The first time

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Archana shivered with delight. There, in her hand, was a little, outrageously expensive glass of Tequila. Her very first. She grinned with uncontrolled excitement.

‘It doesn’t look much different from water,’ she thought, ‘or maybe lime juice?’ She seriously wondered why it was this expensive. But she pushed those thoughts away. It was her 19th birthday, and she would try this, no matter what.

She stared at the glass. Visions of men blabbering away in drunken glory loomed into view. Of men stumbling, unable to walk, as she had seen in movies. Of her classmates puking, like she had seen once in the hostel. And finally, of her parents, especially her mother’s horrified expression if only she came to know. But of course, she wouldn’t.

All the guys in the table had got what they wanted, and they all looked around. Kar looked at her, rubbing his hands in glee, and then picked up his glass, and said ‘To Archana’s health!’

‘Yo!’ screamed some.

‘Cheers,’ screamed others.

Archana smiled and put her glass down.

‘Maybe I shouldn’t do this?’ she asked herself.

‘Naah, go on,’ she told herself again.

She gingerly looked at the glass again.

‘To me,’ she told herself silently.

It was then she noticed the tiny thing in the glass. Something like the capillary tube in the chemistry lab. She picked it up and casually threw it out.

She then lifted the glass and saw how much of Tequila it held. Very, very less.

She put the glass to her mouth and gulped in one go.

She coughed and spat it out. Her friends looked at her.

‘Dear, dear, go slow!’ said Kar. The other guys bellowed with laughter.Archana, visibly shaken, managed a weak smile.

She looked at the glass again. It was almost empty. And she didn’t even know how it tasted!

Only a few drops left.

She opened her mouth again and shook the last few drops into her mouth, like she had just drunk something she absolutely relished.

She then licked her lips. No, not because it was tasty. It just didn’t really taste like anything to her. Almost tasteless, maybe slightly flavoured. Nothing special. But it burned her throat. Or maybe her mind was just making it up? Well, she really didn’t know why millions of people in the world went crazy over such a thing, tasteless, burning.

She stared blankly around as the guys finished up theirs. Buggers, most of them were ordering for more and more.

Suddenly, a fear gripped her. What if she were to puke too? And blabber incoherent things? Let out deep secrets? She shuddered, and announced ‘Let’s go, guys.’

The guys jeered. As expected. But they agreed. The nice guys, who wouldn’t want to offend her. In reality, nice guys who secretly feared Archana might just suddenly burst into tears in a fit of drunken crying if they didn’t leave immediately.

They got up, and Vik crashed to the ground. The other guys cheered as he staggered to his feet and got up.

Archana’s fears hit their peak (again). She started to walk, wanting to get to her room and to bed at the earliest.

‘Kar,’ she mumbled weakly, ‘what if I faint on the way?’

‘Don’t worry, we’ll take you to your room,’ he replied. The ever-steady Kar. ‘He isn’t even high,’ Archana thought, ‘and he had six drinks!’ And tripped.

Two guys rushed and pulled her up. Kar and Ray held her two arms and walked.

Archana, though ashamed, just limped on.

After what seemed an eternity, the guys opened her hostel room, and dropped her on the bed and left, throwing her purse on the chair. Archana curled up in bed, and pulled her covers over herself.

‘Get up, Aa-arch, you’re in the way!’ said some voice.

Archana looked up, dazed. It was Christie, the Mexican girl living in the next room. Archana was sleeping in the corridor, and three other people were watching her from two doors away.

She didn’t bother to ask how she got there. She quickly got up and rushed into her room.

All for a teeny, tiny glass of some tasteless, burning drink. Not worth it, she thought.

She went to the canteen after a shower. The guys were there.

‘Arch, all right?’ asked Kar cheerily.

‘Of course,’ Archana replied, not a bit of the embarrassment she had faced some time back apparent in her face or tone.

‘Well, now that you’re into it too, we were just thinking,’ he said, taking a bottle out of a DFS Galleria bag. Absolut. It looked like a bottle filled with clear, sparkling water.

He handed over the bottle to her. She opened it gingerly and sniffed.

She sneezed and threw the lid over. Kar got tensed and grabbed the bottle from her.

‘I, err, got to go,’ she said and awkwardly rushed out.

No more, she promised herself, and sneezed again. No more.

9 comments:

iCitizen said...

Please tell the truth. This seems autobiographical.

Good one.

rsubras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rsubras said...

gud one.......awesome rather..... picturised the mind of a teenage girl-cum-wanna be adult perfectly :)
Coooooool :)

L.O.G.A!!!!! said...

LOL , I could easily replace few of my friends as Arch and play this story again and again .

Good one , But nothing compared to my friend veera who cried through out the night holding his mom's photo ...he played the statemnt " Mom i made a mistake " again and again till the newspaper guy reached out home ...imm ..those days ...

Harish said...

How was the tequila :-P

Vani Viswanathan said...

icitizen,
I thought 'fiction' says it all.

subras,
hehe.. thanks! :)

Vani Viswanathan said...

l.o.g.a.,
haha! things people do to 'know' what getting drunk is all about! :P

harish,
hmm? it was tasteless.. till it went in and burned my throat!

Badri said...

@ hmm? it was tasteless.. till it went in and burned my throat!

..and its a fiction, we believe that! ;)

The Lass said...

u have a penchant for writing good fiction...reminds me of the first(and last) time i ever did smoke :D