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Dry Day

Ugh. Can you believe it? This is something that we’ve been dealing with since we arrived here, but have not gotten around to writing about – yet.

Talk about an inconvenient bureaucratic holdover, foisting moral decisions on an entire society. The different states in India, for whatever reason, have decided that certain days during the year should be “dry” – with no alcohol sales. The reasons for this decision are lost in obscurity, but the original logic can still be seen in the choices of the types of days set aside:

  • national holidays (alcohol prevents a proper patriotic mindset)
  • selected religious holidays (people should not drink themselves crazy in a religious fervor)
  • important peoples’ birthdays, such as Gandhi (out of respect for them)
  • official days of mourning (so the grievers don’t drink too much)
  • election days (so people don’t vote drunk)
  • vote counting days, 8 days after the elections (so people don’t count drunk)
  • other days as state officials see fit (just to keep us on our toes)

Of course, the big complaint among the masses is that having a dry day doesn’t really mean that people don’t drink, it just means that it is more difficult to buy alcohol on those days. So of course people still get drunk and drive (as the police found to their surprise), all the bootleggers (that’s still a term in use here) have a field day selling marked up booze, and most middle class people simply stock up in advance to get through the day.

Everyone seems to know when these dates are coming. Everyone, that is, except certain unnamed expats who, although they know about the generalities of the law, are not familiar with the specifics. It really is a bummer to not really know which days are dry and then get caught calling every wine and beer shop in the area to no avail. Luckily they have really cool neighbors who loaned them a few cold Fosters to tide them over through a wet and rainy stay-at-home afternoon!

If anyone knows where or how to get ahold of a calendar listing these dates (by month and number, NOT by the name of the holiday, like Anand Chaudash or Gandhi Jayanthi, which doesn’t help me at all), let me know. In India, as in the Boy Scouts, it is best to Be Prepared!

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  1. […] of the elections going on right now, dry days have been declared for the entire country all week long. Luckily we read a newspaper article about […]

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