26 October 2016


                                                                  The idea of women drinking is slowly gaining acceptance, due to more women entering in the organized workforce, gaining financial independence and interacting with their male counterparts in social and professional settings. It is expected that the women’s market in India will grow by 25 percent over the next five years, faster than expected. Because alcohol and cigarette advertising are banned in India, alcohol producers have to be creative, using their brands on water, soda and even music CDs. Many producers sponsor fashion shows, cricket matches and music festivals, while some have hired Bollywood stars for related promotions.

                                                  Vodka with soft drinks like sprite or 7up is very popular amongst the lady students and working ladies. The sweetness of these soft drinks masks the bitter taste of alcohol and makes it more palatable, but the alcohol gets absorbed quickly and ladies get drunk faster and fall prey to male hawks. Males prefer rum with Coke or Pepsi for quick kicks but those sophisticated person prefer scotch whiskey. India is now producing choicest whiskey for the international market. Indian females are ‘increasingly turning experimental.’   A senior doctor cross checked with his  lady patients who were mostly students from different educational institutes of Bhubaneswar, coming for pain abdomen and alcohol related problems, said “that boredom was the main reason they drink on weekends. The idea of senior roommates in hostel and work place was the instrumental behind taking alcohol. Their rising affluence, aspirations and exposure to different lifestyles appears to be driving this desire to have newer experiences and that includes experimenting with alcohol and drugs”.

Such changes have meant that the otherwise demure fair sex has now been able to keep up with life in 21st century India. The traditional kitchen setting has now paved way for corporate boardrooms. Coy dresses have been replaced by an audacious vogue sense. And milieu has been transcended beyond the family wall to keep lifestyles in accordance with modern society. Among many other things, an eye arresting trend amid all this cultural mutation is the surge in the drinking habits among Indian women. I checked with the alcohol shop counter to verify the facts. The middle aged shop owner said “Sir, earlier alcohol sale during day time was rare but in recent times it’s immaterial whether its day or night, sale has gone up by cent percent.  Now a day’s even woman purchases alcohol during day time, it’s now a big business.”

A girl who was in her final semester of her graduation from a prestigious university was asked about her alcohol consumption habits. She promptly replied: “Yeah I have. Who hasn’t? I am 20 years old; I can judge what is right for me and what is not.”It is part of corporate culture nowadays; you do not want to be labeled as a spoil sport just because you shunned a glass of wine with your colleagues during post working hours.”

Should a woman’s desires be chained to the shackles of ethos? Or should the society allow her to make her own choices; no matter if it is related to alcohol consumption? Maybe it’s high time that the moral police and cultural moderators take a back seat and let women decide what is best for them and what is not. Maybe then we can call ourselves an open and integrated society in its truest sense. Time would tell if they are in right direction by following the western culture.
Sanjoy Kumar Satpathy
Joint Director, SAIL.

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