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Stop Drinking. Start Juicing.

It has been about 4 months since I gave up drinking alcohol. 10 years of regular (and mostly moderate) alcohol consumption came to a rather indifferent end earlier this year. Whenever I mention this to people, the first thing I am usually asked is,”Did you get a DUI?!?” And when I respond that no, I have not been arrested for drunk driving, they are typically unsure why else I would have stopped drinking alcohol.

Fact is I simply lost interest. Yes, there was some motivation behind it in terms of bad cholesterol/LDL numbers. But in the end, that was nothing more than the equivalent of an excuse to bring in the change. And when I actually made the decision, it didn’t even seem like I was doing something monumental. I felt the same as when I decided to get off social media a month earlier. It was more of a “Whatever….it doesn’t seem to matter anyway” feeling than an actual ‘decision’. And it has continued to feel that way till today.

I perhaps should not make the statement that I have ‘given up alcohol’. That would imply that I would never drink alcohol ever again. And I know that is something that would be untrue. If I am meeting a good friend after a long time, or if there is a very special occasion, or even if my dad offers me some good Scotch, I am not going to take some kind of a moral or health-based high ground and refuse to join them.

Going on some kind of a dry streak doesn’t mean or do much to me either. It is not that I am afraid I will simply lapse back into my drinking habits if I were to get a beer tonight. I just don’t feel the temptation in the first place. In fact, I still go to my neighborhood bar 2-3 times a week to say hi to my friends; I just don’t drink any alcohol there. So even though I will always appreciate the taste of a good Scotch whisky, I don’t think I would have more than a drink or two in a year. Therefore, I think I would rather make the statement that ‘I have lost interest in alcohol’ instead of ‘I have given up alcohol’.

Losing interest in alcohol provided me with a number of side benefits including having a lot more time on my hands (perhaps because of which I am able to write this post tonight!). And so I started looking for something to do with all the time on my hands. It so happened that around about the same time, a friend of mine suggested that I explore the idea of juicing as a regular activity. I had only known about juicing in passing. So I did some research and found that it was a rather convenient and potentially tasty way to get a whole bunch of nutrients into my body, and, within a few days, had bought the most popular juicer on Amazon.

Then, to find good juice recipes, I went on to the (extremely creatively named) website JuiceRecipes.com. There I found a large database of not just recipes, but also information and general tips on the act of juicing, including some useful warnings on what not to do. I liked the structure of their website and have stuck with it since then for all my juicing needs.

And then I started juicing.

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The Wingman – my personal favorite

Wow. Turns out, juicing is fun! I thoroughly enjoy the act of juicing. And I am not just talking about the part where I drink it. I enjoy the whole experience – deciding on a recipe, preparing the fruit/vegetables, running them through the juicer, and even cleaning the entire apparatus! It is only after I have cleaned it all do I drink the juice. I feel so good when I juice that it has become some kind of a Zen activity; all my focus and energy is on the juicing and I am totally living in the moment! So I never juice in a hurry and always do it as a separate activity that needs its own time. Overall, it takes me about half an hour to decide on a recipe, prepare the ingredients, run it through the juicer, clean the juicer and the waste, and drink the juice. And I look forward to it every day after work.

I am not even going to make an effort to list the health benefits here, because it is the most obvious aspect of juicing. But what I will definitely point out is that juicing has given me something else to drink in place of alcohol. Yes, I would have probably continued to not drink alcohol in any case. But having a big glass of juice to keep sipping on while playing poker or throwing bags with friends who are drinking beer always makes the job so much easier.

So for anyone out there who is trying to quit/reduce drinking, wants to develop some kind of a healthy dietary habit, is looking for a convenient way to get great nutrition in their body or just wants to do something constructive in their free time, really just STOP DRINKING AND START JUICING!

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PS: I use the Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus 850-Watt  for all my juicing. I am thoroughly satisfied with the product and have high praise for the general design and the ease with which it can be cleaned.

The Night of The Black Dog…

Considering the fact that the number of comments to this post hit double digit even before any content was uploaded, I decided to upload the content lest certain people doubt the veracity of my claims. But more importantly I had to upload the content to brush aside certain highly improbable and demeaning claims made by fellow alcoholic blogger Logik.

Anyway, so that was what I wanted to write about. About how I very constructively blew my first salary. That’s what this is all about.  After having waited impatiently for a long time, ever since I first tasted some excellent Scotch whisky in the form of Chivas Regal, I was finally able to buy some myself. It was just that I wanted to buy it from my own money. And that finally took shape in the form of my first salary wherein I spent a cool 1500 bucks to get 2 bottles of Black Dog Scotch Whisky-Aged 12 Years! And so amidst the cool breeze, began THE NIGHT OF THE BLACK DOG!

This time it was just my cousin who introduced me to the marvel that is Scotch, my Dad and me savouring the smooth 12 years old whisky with select songs by Jethro Tull playing in the background. I mainly chose Black Dog due to my prior memorable experience with it when I had been to the Kenny G concert wherein they had served Black Dog as a complimentary gesture. And it was worth every drop that went in me. And when I deeply inhaled and took in the fragrance of the age old Scotch, I realized that this was what they called The Sweet Smell of Success…

As the night rolled on, Dad started “My Experiments with Alcohol-Pre Marriage” and it was nice to hear from him some of his early trysts with Old Monk Rum. I began to talk about how in one of my Post B.Tech High series, me and my fellow Alcoholics (Logik and Shiverbay) were well, drinking alcohol (what else?), listening to Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix and simultaneously belting juniors in DC++. Of course, I was the renowned COW INSPECTOR on the Hub and then some dude popped up a “Hey Cow!” on the Main Chat. The drunk state I was in, I was curious to see who it was. That dude’s nick was JOE and so we typed “HEY JOE!!!” and then we couldn’t stop ourselves from rolling on the floor and laughing! If you ask what’s the funny part, well then I can clearly say you have never been drunk in your life! (Get a life!) But at that time, we just couldn’t control ourselves. And as I was explaining this to my Dad, he looked at me if I was alright or already high. And so I further explained that it seemed funny then and not any other time. ( Damn the generation gap! )

The One that Eats, Sleeps and Screws around..

The One that Eats, Sleeps and Screws around..

And then the time came for what Logik would now term as the Clichéd Midnight Inebriated Walk. Well my cousin and I did have the walk and Blackie(see photo), the other Black Dog  which eats, sleeps and humps, followed us outside its territorial boundaries and in the process made a sincere effort to make its presence felt by leaving copious amounts of you-know-what everywhere it went! And as we trekked up the steep road, Blackie suddenly disappeared, only to reappear on our way down. Apparently there were about 8-10 cantankerous dogs just a small distance up the slope and if this thing had gone up there, I really doubt if it would have come back down. And so as we made the return walk, high on Black Dog, and in the company of the Black Dog, THE NIGHT OF THE BLACK DOG finally ended.

And so now let me focus on the dubious and baseless claims made by fellow alcoholic blogger Logik. Firstly, he claims that the makers of the highly potent Mysore Lancer have come up with a product to rival Black Dog and aptly named it Die Bitch- presumably in memory of the hostel bitch which died due to excessive humping!  And he further claims that Die Bitch can beat up the Black Dog with ease. Well, rest assured, as the Die Bitch will never come as far as Black Dog. The only consequence of this whole act would be the second coming of the “Die Bitch Humping”-and this time courtesy Blackie, the other Black Dog which eats, sleeps and humps for a living.

So people behold the unrivalled domination of THE BLACK DOG! No Die (or DEAD) Bitch can come anywhere close!

And before I forget, THE NIGHT OF THE BLACK DOG saw only ONE of the TWO bottles being emptied. The other bottle is still fully intact.
CALLING ALL FELLOW ALCOHOLICS FROM NITK TO SHARE THE REMAINING BLACK DOG!

PS: I was listening to Budapest by Jethro Tull when I was high and I couldn’t help but substitute the phrase “Hot Night in Budapest” with “The Night of The Black Dog”! And it was actually fun doing it-then.

Kenny G Live in Bangalore- A concert with a difference!

Sublime. Thats how I would describe it. Thats exactly how I would describe it. The combination of Black Dog Scotch and Kenny G, performing Live right in front of you, was just sublime. The night was perfect on the terrace of the UB City with a cool breeze and no rain clouds threatening to spoil the elegant atmosphere. Sitting on the terrace, right between the two towering buildings, in a sea of white seats, it was not difficult to sense the anticipation in the air. The couple of hours leading up to the concert were punctuated by the complimentary shot of Black Dog Scotch! They were, after all, the main sponsors and they set the perfect tone with a beautiful young lady handing out the complimentary coupons. ( I now wonder if she would have given me an extra coupon if I had complimented her on her looks…)

Kenny G in Bangalore

60ml Black Dog- On the Rocks: Thats how my evening began! And what smoothness! I could feel the Scotch mesmerizing my tongue and make its way right through to my stomach! So much so, I bought another dose soon after. And with an intention of devouring the Scotch through the concert, I began to have small sips when I heard a small commotion. The commotion sounded like something eagerly awaited and then I saw the man- Kenny G walking through the crowd, with his saxophone, playing as he passed the exuberantly applauding crowd. And then as he walked to the platform right in front of me, in the middle of the audience, and climbed on it to play his soprano sax for about 10 minutes, I just couldn’t help admiring the ease with which he was playing the instrument. And as he made his way to the stage, holding a single note for well over 5 minutes (He would later explain the nasal technique behind the seemingly impossible act!), the crowd applauded, the applause filled with awe and wonder!

At this point, I have to say that it had been a very long time since I actually listened to his music and though I remembered each and every tune, I couldn’t place the tune with its name. But with the names of the songs being displayed on the big screen, that was not to be a problem. He started off his classics with “Silhouette”- the title track from his 1988 album. And as that came to a close, Kenny G took some time out to humor the audience with his almost-perfectly-memorized Kannada in which he went to the extent of saying:

“Namaskara Bengaluru. Nanage illi thumba khushi agtha idhe. Kshamisi, nanage Kannada gotthilla…….

Thumba Dhanyavadhagalu. Iga naanu Havana Haadu haadthini”

Translation: “Hello Bangalore. I am really happy here. Pardon me. I don’t know Kannada…. Thank you very much. Now I will sing Havana”

The crowd applauded his efforts to talk in the local language. But I have to say, the experience of seeing Kenny G playing “Havana” in front of you and savoring a glass of Black Dog- on the rocks – on top of UB CITY with a cool breeze blowing over your face, was a completely unique experience in itself. The song is probably the most melodious one I have ever heard and he was playing the notes to perfection-improvising only where necessary while always keeping the melody intact! He went on to play “Sentimental” and a couple of songs from his brand new album “Rhythm and Romance”. The album happens to be a latin based one with Kenny G playing the Sax and a troupe of Latin music professionals backing him up.

At this point, I have to mention that all the band members were just simply astonishing with their instruments. Ron Powell on the percussions gave a breath taking percussion solo showcasing his prowess in a myriad of drums, bongos and the like. Vail Johnson on the bass gave the longest and a mind numbing bass solo that I have personally seen live. Robert Damper with his keyboard was a treat to watch during his solo in a song that Kenny G played just for the Piano solo. Daniel Bejarano and John Raymond on the drums and the guitar played their role to perfection.

Of course, Kenny G went on to play many more of his classics. “Forever in Love” was followed by a virtual duet with Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” which would have mellowed a raging elephant. Louis Armstrong’s rich voice must have come directly from God himself, and with Kenny G’s sax complimenting it in perfect harmony, the result was the epitome of what melody could offer. He left the stage and came back for an encore with one of the most widely awaited songs of the evening- The Moment. The trademark song of Kenny G. And sitting in my chair, as he played the notes to perfection, I realized that my high school dream of seeing Kenny G Live had indeed come true. But I was waiting for one of my personal favorites to be played and well, I was in luck! As he went into “Songbird”, I could really feel my night complete!( I would have paid another grand to see him play Eatside Jam but unfortunately he didn’t play it there.) He went on to play the Sax version of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On which, frankly speaking, was way better than the original-largely due to Kenny’s Sax replacing the ear splitting vocals of Celine Dion! He then wound up the show with Cadenza, the culmination of over 40 years of practice in which he got to showcase his skills with his Saxophone!

On the whole, I have to say, a really memorable night and one that I will remember for a long long time to come. And like I said, it was all so SUBLIME……