“To Alcohol! The cause of and the solution to Life’s all problems” – Homer J Simpson (Nuclear plant worker, father of three and an alcoholic by choice)
Students! Today we will study about alcohol said the lecturer and all the guys were rapt with attention. The word alcohol was like the elixir of life in that boring class, which had almost killed all the students. All daydreamers had started having visions of themselves holding a glass of amber liquid and three or four hot chicks surrounding them sitting on the armrests of the leather throne they sat on, just like in the movies… then the lecturer said, “an alcohol is any organic compound in which a Hydroxyl group is bound to a carbon atom of an alkyl or substituted alkyl group. The general formula for a simple acyclic alcohol is CnH2n+1OH”. And their dreams were shattered with those alien words. What the hell was all this? May be we need some real education not this textbook crap to get ahead in life. When will we learn the truth about alcohol and all related activities? They were dejected with defeat written large over their face expressing their inability to understand this social custom yet knowing that someday they will have to face it. This would be the case with many when they study chemistry in intermediate. So, to learn more on how we engineers manage to create great technical innovations while being totally punch drunk! Read on.
A normal day at any Institute of technical knowledge comprises of some students going to class, some bunking class, some playing some sport, some group of girls sitting under the trees in the grounds chatting away to glory and then there is this group, who are found to be perennially drunk. No day in college is complete without some guy being drunk. This is something one gets to know right in the first year, when some seniors rag the juniors and ask them to pay for their beer and it is often heard that somebody or the other got creamed almost daily. That implies that there are many happily drunk seniors. Most of the students, who enter into Engineering, enter with the thought ‘Drinking is prevalent in the college but I wont get drunk, I wont touch that vile filthy fluid at all in my life and will remain a sanctimonious preacher of probation’. Yet, most of them before they are done with their education have ‘tried it’ or ‘tasted it’ as it is called and some of the staunchest supporters of the anti youth alcohol lobby have been found to be the most drunk people ever to roam the campus.
Why? Why do youngsters take up drinking or are attracted to it . This is an age old question, which has many different answers just like the answers we engineers write for the questions in the examination. “Drinking is a way of life. Since times immemorial we have heard of drunk people. My ancestors invented alcohol so, why cant i drink it ? Why am I supposed to have a drink and feel bad about it?”, questions Kedar, a 4th year student in an engineering college. He is essentially right that drinking is an ancient activity and beer mugs have been found in archaeological excavations dating back to 10000 BC. Truly alcohol has been around for a very long time. Some students feel that drinking is cool and its the hip thing to do. “If you ask me people, who drink to be cool are a sad lot”, says Vipin a 3rd yearite.
Drinking isn’t cool or is it? This will remain a mystery and opinions vary from person to person. There are a whole lot of reasons as to why do youngsters take up drinking. Some do under peer pressure, some always knew that they would be drunks. Some have no idea why they attack the bubbly with gusto when they see it and some just drink it to have a great time. “I am 20 years old. I have a girlfriend, who is a big pain in the butt, my parents breathe down my neck all the time for my results and my bike doesn’t give me mileage as I desire. My life has so many problems, hence I drink as it relaxes me”, says one student on the condition of anonymity. Some people require a reason some don’t even require it.
While we have dwelled upon the why, lets find out what do engineers drink? The owner of wine shop near MVSR Engineering College Nadergul told that mostly Beer and Vodka is purchased by the students in the afternoon. Some students come and start in the morning itself, but if its a particularly cold day, then Whisky and Rum sells too. On being asked if the consumption of alcohol takes place in front of shop, he says that students have their own spots and rarely do students linger about in front of the shop. They buy the stuff and leave as soon as possible. He did not divulge the places, where students go to have a booze party and also refused to let the reporter take a picture in spite of being told that this will make his wine shop really famous.
The easy availability of alcoholic beverages is one factor and also the remote locations of almost all Engineering colleges is one factor in the prevalence of alcholism in the students of these institutions. “Nadergul Cheruvu as the we call it is an ideal spot to bunk classes and have a drink, its an isolated spot and mostly people come here to drink. The all time activity is having chugging competitions and then throwing the empty beer bottles as far as one can to judge the winner”, says Joey (name changed). This spot is not being used for some months as the Principal and the Sports Director, had raided the place and caught many students in an inebriated condition just before the semester exams. Still many hills surrounding the college are an ideal spot to park your car and have a sip.
When alcohol is available easily there are some consequences to it. There have been accidents that have taken place because students have not yet learned the art of driving, when they are drunk. A first year student became infamous for ramming a seniors car into an oncoming truck when he was high on whiskey, the car was totalled and beyond repair. The picture is shown. We might make contraptions of great wonder but still can’t make them function if we have no sense of self. Fights are a common occurrence between two drunk parties and the students are hardly bothered by them any more. Special events or fests always have those select few, who come and dance at the DJ nite drunk full to the brim and show some moves that would put Rajnikanth to shame.
So are these so called alcoholic heroes, popular in college? “The answer is NO! People, who drink and come to college gross me out”, says Manasa a third year in an Engineering college. “They are not supposed to be drunk in centres of learning”, says she with vehement conviction. So don’t Engineering girls drink? “We do but only in Pubs and that too when someone we trust is around.”
The truth about alcoholism cannot be learned in just a few minutes. You have to be affected by it to know about it. Its an age old and inherent problem with the society per say but the impact it has cannot be ignored. Alcohol can alter the course of ones life. The fact that cannot be denied is the prevalence of it in Engineering colleges. Even tech fests of some colleges are sponsored by Beer companies nowadays so you can see the impact it has on the youth and the Beer barons have sensed it and are ready to publicise & advertise it leaving no stone unturned. So when faced with this predicament or situation in one’s life in the near future or faced it some time already in the past just remember the words said by a very famous poet
“ TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
- Robert Frost
Remember its always your choice and your actions that pave the way of your destiny. Choose wisely.