There's something oddly calming about the distinct flavour of Old Monk that keeps me coming back. It's that strange mix of caramel, vanilla, bile and nostalgia I suppose.
Not that I haven't tried any of the fancier stuff, but this dynamic dark rum is pretty much a staple of any sesh in India.
Most of us were pretty broke in college, but these 4 words - chal daaru peete hain - wove magic.
As soon as it was uttered, a flurry of hands holding tenners and 50s would appear out of thin air and before you knew it, an Old Monk full would be simultaneously gagging our pipes and caressing our nerves... and of course, pushing us to make bad decisions.
The hazy but unforgettable memories that were created over a bottle of Old Monk can never be topped.
Once in a blessed while, one of our army kid buddies would manage to hustle in some of those subsidised bottles that dreams are made of, and the next few weekends would go by in a blissful haze of music, laughter and eternal camaraderie.
It doesn't matter how much money I make, I'm always gonna say Old Monk when someone asks me what I want to drink.
With a legacy so strong, with memories so dear, it's easy to understand just why I'm still adamant about the Monk, in spite of how fancy thekas have become . I've been working for a few years now, been making that ₹₹, but I could win the goddamn lottery tomorrow and you know what I'd still get? This bad boy right here -
It's not just about the taste. Old Monk isn't just another daaru. It's an old friend.
Of course, there are always those times when by some cruel twist of fate, the theka/TASMAC/black market next to the railway tracks has run out. When all they have left is Old Monk Gold Reserve or - horror of horrors - the Old Monk-in-a-head bottle. You buy it, but something just feels wrong. The vibe, the aura of the the bottle, the soul of the experience, it's all gone. And that's when you realise that this rum isn't about the taste, it's about the feeling.
I've tried everything else, but I somehow always end up coming back to Monky dearest.
Sure, I'll take a break and try something else every now and then. You can't have too much of a good thing after all. But that seldom lasts long. Cheap vodka makes my tummy growl the next day, which really sucks if you sit in a silent office. Gin and tonic is too sickly sweet for my taste buds. Beer's fun, but only on the beach. So where does that leave me, or any of us really?
I'll tell you where it leaves us - it leaves us with a steel gilassi of rum and coke and the knowledge that while tomorrow might suck, tonight's gonna feel pretty damn amazing.