RECENTLY, Delhi saw an atrocious crime when a few young men driving a car dragged a woman trapped under their car for many kilometres. The men in the car were drunk and maybe so they became so inhuman to drag a person till only one-third of the body remained. This is the ugliest instance of pot valour I have ever read. We know that drunkards draw courage to do things they would never have done if they were sober. Alcohol injects the nerves with some power that takes the person to that level of mental imbalance where the drunk does something that is not possible otherwise.
Recently, the story of a CEO peeing on a lady passenger travelling in the business class of a famous airline is doing the headlines. The drunk man may not have realised what he was doing but he did it. He was arrested after a formal complaint was made against him. We don’t find it amusing nor do we have any explanation for the man’s behaviour, it is just that he was drunk. Just as I am writing this article, television news is reporting about a drunk woman walking semi-naked along the aisle, abusing crew members who tried to stop her, another case of pot valour.
Pot valour has been presented in a very amusing way in Hindi cinema. No one can forget the comic scenes of pot valour. Pot valour is endearing till it is innocent. It is often said that he or she speaks fluent English after one or two pegs. We Indians do not speak proper English yet we deride those who don’t speak English. That is another foolish valour. We have laughed when Bertie, the famous PG Wodehouse character sips the famous concoction hangover cure made by Jeeves as he listens to tales of pot valour concocted by Jeeves presented in an endearing way. But when it happens in reality, it is not at all funny. Science says that alcohol increases the activity in the dopamine neurones as well as the mesolimbic reward pathway, as well as the opioid cells that release endorphins. Both produce joy, pleasure, euphoria depending on the activation. The alcohol-induced euphoria has spelled doom for many a drunkard, the socially unacceptable bravery may seem funny to the people who are not at the receiving end. The rash driving of drunkards has taken away many innocent lives.
Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness, said Seneca the Roman philosopher. Drink because you are happy but never because you are miserable, said G K Chesterton. It is said, first you take a drink then the drink takes a drink and then the drink takes you. But I feel drinking makes you a devil. The drunk men who dragged the woman trapped under their car made me wonder if those men would have acted in the same way if they were sober. I think they would not have done that. ‘Nasha sharab me hota to nachti botal,’ says a famous Hindi song. But the bottle never dances it makes the alcoholic dance to its tune and sometimes that dance spells doom for some innocent person. To drink or not to drink is for the public to decide but if you drink, let it be so that neither you cause any harm to yourself, not to anyone else.