Gopi and Ajay are friends from college who live and work in Trivandrum. One Saturday evening, Gopi stops to visit Ajay after work and invites him out to eat and to a bar for drinks. Ajay, who recently had a negative experience with alcohol, declines, and shares his experience with Gopi.
Gopi: Hey Ajay! How has life been treating you my good brother?
Ajay: Work is going great! I'm enjoying my apartment and my new bike. I'm young and healthy, and ready to get married. So hey, I can't complain! I take it you're doing ok, you look good!
Gopi: I'm doing wonderful! I just received a job promotion. Have you eaten dinner already?
Ajay: No, but I need some sustenance as soon as possible.
Gopi: Perfect! Get washed and dressed and we'll head down to M.G. Road for Tandoori and drinks. Come on, chicken and beer are calling our names.
Ajay: Tandoori chicken sounds good but I think I'll skip the beer.
Gopi: Have whiskey then. I don't care. But let's get moving!
Ajay: Gopi, I mean that I don't want to drink tonight.
Gopi: Why not? It's my treat! Did you hear me? I just got a promotion, and I've wanted to celebrate all day! I can't celebrate by myself. Besides, this is our Saturday night tradition!
Ajay: I know, but I think we should change. Last Saturday when I was in Bangalore on business, I went out drinking with some of our former schoolmates. During our night out, I witnessed something that I really disliked. The night made me want to refrain from alcohol for a long time.
Gopi: Did you get into a fight? Did you see a traffic accident? What happened?
Ajay: I saw a guy that we know from college hit his wife, and he put our lives in danger. I'm not saying any names, but in college he had a reputation for being arrogant and acting wild and boisterous when drinking. I'll just call him the rowdy guy.
Gopi: I think I know who you're talking about.
Ajay: I and two other guys met the rowdy guy at a bar to have drinks and play billiards. We had a great time drinking, telling jokes, and shooting pool. By the end of the night we were all very drunk. When we decided to call it a night and go home, the rowdy guy insisted on giving us a ride home. He called his wife and asked her to give us a ride.
Gopi: I think I know where this is going. You should have gotten your own auto.
Ajay: I wish I did. We were all in the car with this guy and his wife on the way home when the night took a wrong turn. While the other guys and I tried to enjoy the ride in peace, the rowdy guy started yelling out of the window at pedestrians.
Gopi: Now I know exactly who you're talking about! That kid was no fun to be around when drinking. I've heard that he's gotten into a few drunken brawls.
Ajay: He sure proved it that night! His wife became very annoyed and begged him to stop screaming but he only became belligerent. They started arguing and she called him a stupid drunken fool, and told him to shut up. As soon as she said this, he slapped her face hard, which caused her to lose control of the car.
Gopi: The absentminded fool forgot she was driving! I knew that guy was bad company!
Ajay: The car went off the road, got two flat tires, and hit a fence. Nobody was hurt, but we came very close to hitting two pedestrians. Would you believe the fool blamed the accident on his poor wife? She was very upset and crying.
Gopi: That guy does not deserve a wife with his behaviour. So what happened after that?
Ajay: The two other guys and I told him that he needed to get some professional help for his alcohol and anger problem. We left the couple and walked down the street until we found a rickshaw to share. On the way, we saw two police officers a few blocks away, and told them about the incident. They went to investigate and make sure the wife was ok.
Gopi: That's good. I understand why this made you not want to drink but we are not like that guy. We don't get drunk, act like morons, beat women, and cause fights. We share laughs about each other's progressive lives and enjoy each other's company.
Ajay: Yes, but I did some research on alcohol consumption in Kerala and was very disappointed in what I discovered! Did you know that our state has the highest rate of alcoholism in India?
Gopi: Oh, I thought that Punjab had the highest. What's the other bad news?
Ajay: Kerala's liquor consumption is about four times the national average. Much of the spousal violence against women is related to husbands drinking. The divorce rate in Kerala is increasing, and is linked to alcohol abuse. Also, the majority of fatal traffic accidents in Kerala are due to drunk driving. In fact, from 2008 to 2009, there were almost 4,000 alcohol-related accidents.
Gopi: I'm not sure if I can handle any more bad news. That's some depressing information and I want to be in a good mood tonight.
Ajay: I'm sorry but I think you should know this! Our state suffers from high unemployment, and has hospitals and rehabilitation centers loaded with patients suffering from alcohol-related diseases. Teenagers as young as thirteen think it is cool to drink, but they are not old enough to handle the responsibility.
Gopi: I bet the rowdy guy started drinking when he was thirteen. I know that alcoholism isprevalent in Kerala but I didn't know it was that bad. I understand your concern Ajay, but I would really like a drink tonight to celebrate my hard work. I deserve it and I'm responsible.
Ajay: I'm not your father, but I'm your friend and care about you. I'm going to take a break from alcohol for a while. We can still hang out on Saturday nights, just not at a bar. I hope that's ok.
Gopi: Sure brother. We can find something else to do with our Saturday nights. After Tandoori tonight, you don't have to go to the bar with me. Don't worry; I'll be with some colleagues. I'll call you to let you know that I'm doing ok.
Ajay: Call me after you finish your rendezvous and make it home also. Ok, just give me fifteen minutes and we can head to M.G. Road. I've wanted Tandoori for a while. You're right on time.
Sustenance - Something (such as food) that keeps someone or something alive.
Boisterous - Very noisy and active in a lively way.
Pedestrian - A person who is walking in a city, along a road.
Belligerent - Angry and aggressive: feeling or showing readiness to fight.
Absentminded - Tending to forget things or to not notice things.
Progressive - Moving forward, advancing.
Consumption - The act of eating or drinking something.
Rehabilitation - To bring (someone or something) back to a normal, healthy condition after an illness, injury, drug problem.
Prevalent - Accepted, done, or happening often or over a large area at a particular time.
Rendezvous - A meeting at an appointed place and time.
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