(Published in Zeitgeist, The New Indian Express, dated November 13, 2010)
“They gave me the date rape drug.”
That ought to send shivers down one’s spine. But when the speaker is a six-foot-three-inch creature that looks like it has come back from a wine-tasting evening for vampires, one’s reaction is markedly different.
However, my emotions were steered back to horror when my brother, who was still oozing blood from his mouth, proudly showed me a packet containing four huge human teeth.
“I’m going to make a chain with these as pendants,” he announced.
“Why not just paint K, O, O, L on them while you’re at it?” my other brother smirked.
“You think a bracelet will look better?” the date-rape-drugged one looked at him respectfully.
“Why not tattoo ‘They gave me the date rape drug and all I got was these four teeth’ on them?” I grinned, and was ignored, perhaps deservedly.
My drugged brother looked at the evidence of his erstwhile wisdom with disturbing fondness. “I’ll decide what to do with them once I get sober.”
My other brother and I looked at each other, and mutely decided against correcting him on how the medication works. While the three of us have helped many a dentist expand his or her business, the youngest of us was the only one who had been administered what I remember, perhaps incorrectly, as ‘wakeful anaesthesia’.
In order to understand the significance of the occasion, one must get acquainted with my brother’s brief history of trying to get high.
The date was August 27, 2010. He had turned nineteen. We pronounced him old enough to drink, and decided to treat him to a night at the pub.
Having dressed in keeping with the code, and rather incongruently with my pyjamas and floaters, my brothers looked every bit the yuppies they aspired to be.
“ID card, sir?” the bouncer asked, and I flashed my press card.
“Not yours, ma’am, sir’s.”
My older younger brother flashed the access card to his IT Park.
“Not yours, sir, sir’s.”
“I don’t have mine,” said the youngest, stoutly.
“Then, sorry, sir.”
“Do you have your licence?” I had deemed this to be worth a shot.
“Madam, he has a licence?” the bouncer stared at the baby face hovering a foot above his own.
“Akka, they don’t even think I’m eighteen!” my little brother scowled, having abandoned all ambition of discretion.
“Sir, only above 21 allowed.”
“Can he just sit with us and drink mocktails or something?”I asked.
“That would just be more humiliating,” he fumed.
“No, madam, entry not allowed.”
“Then, can they go in and brink my dring outside? I mean…”
“Dude, you can’t hold your fruit juice. Brink your dring?” my other brother hooted.
“No, sir, sorry.”
“But that’s legal!”
“You can drink if you’re over 18, but you can’t sip mocktails at a pub. You can choose your Prime Minister, but you can’t celebrate his win. Why don’t we just market ourselves as Ironic India?”my other brother began, “or Moronic Mothe…”
“Yes, yes, but can’t they bring my drink outside?”
“No, sir, sorry.”
Less than three months later, he was the proud victim of a narcotic.
The only thing I found more disconcerting than his status message – ‘Manoj Krishnan was given the date rape drug, relieved of wisdom and given raw material for a tooth necklace’- was the number of his friends who ‘Like’-d it.