One of the most spontaneous and unprompted responses in most youth groups across small and big town India on what they like doing after college or work is Going Drinking.
Quite a transition in India where for most families, anything remotely connected to alcohol is bad and taboo and " does not drink " is a great brownie point for a propective groom. And as for girls, even stating this is, or rather, was, taboo.
Wanted to dive deeper into this trend.
As far as the families are concerned, there is an increasing permission for the youngsters to drink.
a. Demystifying the "drunk"
For most of the younger generation, they are the first drinkers in the family.They walk into the house after a pub hangout, and go on with normal life. For the elders of the household with vivid imageries of real life drunken uncles , relatives and maybe even fathers and husbands walking in sloshed, loud decibels, even extremes like wife beating, hugely popularised as a stereotype by Bollywood as well, this is a complete reversal and also a great reassurance.
b. Lifestyle quotient
Pubbing is a lifestyle. Late night parties are the order of the day. Much more in metroes. But creeping into smaller towns as well. Earlier non drinking parents themselves may, in all probability, have taken to sipping a glass of wine in parties. Carrying a wine bottle instead of a box of sweets is also a trend nowadays. Wine has in a way erased the earlier taboos of heavy drinking and aftermaths that created the fear of "being drunk".
c. Parent child dynamics
The relationship between parents and children are also undergoing a huge transition. More permissiveness, friends rather than elders, sharing clothes and passions are the new order. With conversations freely flowing, parents today make an effort to understand the perspective of their teenage or twenty something offspring and not make blind rules that will only result in distancing them further.
When it comes to youth themselves, drinking is not the end but the means to an end.
Being able to drink with buddies is a sign of freedom. From early strict societal norms, parental pressure and also from their own inhibitions. Today they have exercised relative freedom on various fronts... career choice, relationships, personal grooming, choice of gadgets etc. Being free has brought in a sense of responsibility as well, like freedom always does. Which has largely removed the self inhibitions of guzzling a beer after work at the cafe.
b. Great Hangout
With curfew hours relaxed at home and more money in the wallet than before, pubs , cafes are the new hangouts.A place to meet friends, friends of friends, a place where relationships form and break, where conversations flow.It is a great break, a good fun dose and a social life booster.
c. A stress reliever
The pressures the young face today are big. Yes, every generation had pressures of growing up. But the pace of change, the options before us, the desire to achieve in a much shorter time span has added up to the stress of the first jobber. We see younger faces at work every day, as trainees, sometimes yet to sit for their final papers. The evening hangout over a drink with ex college buddies or friends at work is a stress reliever. Even a time when fresh ideas germinate over laughter and cheer.
d. Be with it
This is more for young girls, where the inhibitions and lack of permissiveness is stronger.
But applicable to everyone in general. Being with it and not being leftout is important. So in a lot of drinking and pubbing groups, there will the Coke, Pepsi, Juice ones as well.
The Drinking Eco System
This has become much more open and hence at its flamboyant best. From happy hour deals, to crooners and rock stars jamming on weekends, to wine and meal combo offers on e commerce sites and wine shops lined with cocktail mixes and everything else, it is never been so good. This has dragged boozing out from undercover to being part of social life. Good boys drink on the silver and small screen... actually there are no good boys and girls, just smart and cool ones.
This does not mean that we are turning into a nation of alcoholics! It just signals change.
Emanating in behaviour.
It is about being confident.
And being bold.
So there we go.
India has finally uncorked.
And pubbing is the new popular hangout and past time for young India.