Anandi Mishra in Psyche:
The first time I drank alcohol, it was red rum straight from a quarter bottle – riding pillion as my boyfriend took us around a secluded part of the city of Lucknow, in provincial northern India. It was spring 2010, I was in the third year of law school, and 80 kilometres away from my hometown. I’d told him that I wanted to ‘enjoy a drink’ with him, and he’d obliged – though, at 20, I was still far from the contours of knowing how to enjoy drinking. I wanted to experience the high that came with it, but my boyfriend wanted me to learn the lesson of my life.
As he rode his Yamaha around, I took big swigs of the dark liquid. He’d given me a Cadbury bar to wipe away the bitter aftertaste of the rum. I finished almost the entire quarter like that: one swig rum, one bite of chocolate. What ensued were hours of blackout. I remember waking up at around dinnertime in my hostel room, flanked by friends and stuck in vomit-caked bedding.
I hadn’t realised what my boyfriend intended to accomplish that evening. Two days later, still arising out of the fog, I remember him laughing at my face. I felt small and cheated, and vowed never to drink again. But moving to Delhi a few years later, where I worked a tedious job as a junior associate at the High Court of Delhi, I discovered a different side to alcohol.