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In Vino Veritas -- That Damn Bottle of Wine

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by sojourner, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. sojourner

    sojourner Silver IL'ite

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    In spite of living in the US for over forty years, I am a teetotaler and a vegetarian. This is not due to any high principles but simply due to the way I was brought up. [When I was growing up in Chennai, there were about 4 "oyin shops" in the whole city, hidden in inconspicuous places.] My children -- now in their mid twenties -- went to American colleges and were exposed to alcohol. While I wish that they don't drink, this is not realistic and the best I can hope for is that they learn to drink in moderation. They are really outstanding individuals -- not only are they highly successful academically, they do a lot of volunteer work and the like, i.e., they do things for the "great unwashed". This is largely due to their training in their schools and colleges. Having been a great unwashed myself in the not too distant past, I don't feel the same urges for volunteering myself :)

    Somebody gave us a nice bottle of wine for Christmas. It was bottled in Argentina. Knowing next to nothing about wine, I had no idea how good or expensive it was. I did not know what to do with it. I considered giving it away or even throwing it away. [I didn't want to encourage my children drinking.] Who can I give it to? The first family I could think of was the Mormons who live two doors away. Do they even drink? Do I have to research the drinking habits of Mormons? What I did was just leave the bottle of wine on the dining room table. When one of my sons saw it his eyes lit up -- it must have been a nice wine.

    There is a theory that a small amount of wine every day is actually good for the heart. I have been considering this advice for a long time now. The problem is that some people find it hard to stop at small amounts. At larger amounts, alcohol is bad from the cardiac point of view also.

    My children are also pressuring me to treat them more as adults. For a very hands on father like me, this is rather hard too. (When they were younger, the three of us would go to a museum/play/show/concert/ballgame at least every other weekend.) We were talking about the bottle of wine and, in a rare moment of broadmindedness, I said that I will let the younger son decide what to do with it. He is the more practical one. The older one is the more professorial one.

    We went to a restaurant the next day. The topic of the bottle of wine again came up. I had changed my mind by this time. I said that mommy and I will probably drink a little bit of the wine for New Year's Eve celebrations, before we went to bed at 10 PM :) They both heard it.

    They both were going back on the last day of the year. As we were driving back from the airport after seeing them off on their respective flights, my wife and I again started talking about the (damn) bottle of wine on our dining table. I wanted to make sure that I didn't drink more than a real small amount of it. What should I do with the rest? Can I keep it in the refrigerator and drink it over the month that it will take me? Should I pour it out? Can I give it to a friend -- is it good manners to give an opened bottle of wine? [We face a similar problem with cakes. We are on low fat diet. Fortunately, we know a family who do not mind getting "leftover" cakes. For birthday parties and the like, as soon as we have had our one slice, we take the remainder to this friend. This won't work with wine, since they don't drink.] Our bottle of wine was sitting at room temperature. Should I cool it? How should I cool it? Should I buy a bag of ice? Should I keep it in the freezer for 5 minutes? Should I just keep it in the garage for an hour or two where it was quite cold? Decisions, decisions.

    It turned out that I didn't have to make these tough decisions after all. When I got home, I found out that the bottle of wine was gone -- the younger son had taken it with him. (This was confirmed when I called him. "Wasn't I supposed to take it?" he said.)

    People listen to and remember only what they want to listen to and remember :)
     
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  2. iyerviji

    iyerviji Finest Post Winner

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    Good to knowthat after staying in US you dont drink.
    viji
     
  3. sojourner

    sojourner Silver IL'ite

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    > Good to knowthat after staying in US you dont drink.

    No minor vices, viji :)
     
  4. Coffeelover

    Coffeelover Platinum IL'ite

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    I am dying to know what kind of wine it is? Red or White?
    Did your son enjoy this? Anytime you want to get rid of opened wine bottle, let me know. we will come and get it.

    My husband took 6 weeks class ( Sunday form 2 to 4PM) sacrificing his sleep. He enjoys the drink and would love to tell me all about the history too.

    Anyway, you missed tasting of the wine. sorry!!!!!
     
  5. sojourner

    sojourner Silver IL'ite

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    Coffeelover: Next time I get to talk to my son, I will ask him what kind of wine it was and whether he liked it. [I think that it was white. I wish that I had noted down its name.]

    Tens of billions of dollars are spent all over the world in wine related industries. It is one of the pleasures of life invented by man. When we went on a cruise the last time, our enologist was from Chennai. He was joking that he won't tell my parents if I had a glass of wine -- I didn't. Drinking wine is an acquired taste. I never acquired it. At this stage in my life, I am not sure I will ever or not. Some of my American friends think that I don't know how to enjoy life. Maybe they are right.

    On the flip side, there are at least two Indians in my town who are in serious trouble due to alcohol related problems. One of them used to serve expensive liquor when we go to his house for dinner and would get angry when I refuse to drink. I stopped going to his house, one reason being this. The other (a Tamilian) is an even sadder case -- there is a small chance that he might read this and therefore that's all I will say. He also used to try to get me to drink and would get upset when I said no.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    OK, one more alcohol story and I am off to my chores.

    During my first Christmas in the US, my lab partner and roommate invited me to his sister's house in Massachusetts for the holidays. We were (and are?) both Tamil Brahmin boys. My roommate drank a little and smoked -- I didn't. When his sister found out that I didn't do these things, she didn't like it. I overheard her say "People like this are the ones who will end up marrying American girls" , as though that was the biggest sin of them all. Here is what my roommate (bless his heart) said to her: "Sojourner will marry an American girl now if he finds the right girl." He understands me well -- we are still friends after 40 years.

    My friend like to use fancy words -- I am not sure whether even he understands what he is saying some times. Everything is a dichotomy to him, for instance. After one of his fanciful utterances, this is what she said to her husband:

    "ஐய்யயோ இவன் என்னமோ சொல்றானே நீங்க வாங்களே".

    I got scared thinking "What if I got married to someone like her?" She is an excellent cook -- so it would not have been a total loss :)

    The attraction of American girls for people like me is not their white skin but their personalities. [I did not end up marrying an American girl. He ended up marrying an European girl] Here is someone on the other extreme. An acquaintance married an American girl. His parents were against it, as may be expected. She wanted to go by herself to India, talk to them, and convince them that she was a good person. Her husband thought that this was an awful idea. She went anyway and by the time she came back, they were eating out of her hands. It was always "Mrs.K this" and "Mrs.K that", when they came for a visit. She learnt to cook Indian food very well. Now, get ready for this: she even learnt to speak English with her husband's Kannada accent. "அதுவு", "இதுவு ", etc.

    Update:

    Coffeelover: My son just called me back. It was a red wine. He said that it was nothing to write home about and that the bottle still had quite a bit of wine left. He was thinking of either cooking with it or pouring it down the drain. And so it goes :)
     
  6. Coffeelover

    Coffeelover Platinum IL'ite

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    Sojourner, thanks for the detailed reply. Red Wine? Not nice. It is better to pour it down than use it. We come form same back ground like yours. We did not teach our children about our caste, religion etc. They asked me if we are Brahmin because one of my son's friend's family wanted to know. Some people think we have to drink to be cool. Other people jsut hate if you say you like wines etc. Once I met an Tamilian form Chennai and talked about Beer. She was shocked I like to drink Beer once in a while ( I stopped that few years back) . After the conversation, we did not meet often. Then when I went to a party, I saw her drinking something form the glass. Guess what? Scotch!!!! Then her cousin told me that this woman only drinks Scotch and often too. Why do we need to have a double life for silly things like that?
    I am sorry for your two Indian friends. They lost a funny friend.
    Have a great day!!!!!
     
  7. sojourner

    sojourner Silver IL'ite

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    Coffeelover:

    Should red wine be thrown away after opening? I will tell my son that.

    For the record, my grandfather was a sastrigal and so is my mother's only brother. This latter would do well as a used car dealer in this country.

    My children don't know the first thing about our caste or religion. They pronounce the first word as K'ste when they come across it on the printed page. I have of course tried to correct it but it didn't stick.

    My wife and I went out to dinner tonight. She worked today and I was off, and she was tired when she came home. The restaurant had some nice wines but I resisted the temptation. I was watching Madrasapattinam today and was telling her the story during the drive. In one scene, the dhobis go to the governer's mansion for poNNU kekkaradhu. I thought that this was hilarious. Visually, the movie was shot very well.

    Like food, alcohol should be handled in moderation. I never learnt this, nor do I regret this. As I wrote in the blog itself, I don't consider my teetotaling as a virtue at all. This is not false modesty either. I am a strong family man. I consider this as a virtue.

    You have a great day and week too. The work week starts tomorrow.
     

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