New York Times: South Asian Talent Showcase at SubDrift
The Atlantic: Blame It on the Alcohol
In my latest essay, I disclose the series of missteps that led to my first (and second, and third) accidental sips of alcohol. Check it out in The Atlantic!
Blame It on the Alcohol: An Unintentional Bender in New Delhi
What happens when an abstainer, inspired by Islam and confirmed by palate, is accidentally served a daiquiri at a friend’s wedding in India.
After a quarter century of never imbibing so much as a drop of alcohol, it was a strawberry daiquiri at a lovely garden party in New Delhi that did me in. That watered-down libation, the contents of which I’m still not entirely sure about, kicked off a series of of close encounters of the boozy kind.
My decision not to drink has never been a complicated one: it’s inspired by Islam, reaffirmed by observations, and cemented by palate. I was raised with the understanding that alcohol was haram — forbidden — and, as a perennial goody two-shoes, it would never have occurred to my rule-abiding self to challenge that decree. Furthermore, I don’t see the appeal of giving up control of my already delicate faculties, only to then invite the inevitable hangovers. As anyone who has witnessed my interpretation of “Wannabe” during a night out at karaoke can attest, I do a sufficiently adequate job of making a fool out of myself while completely sober. Just call me Curly Spice.
But if an aversion to ridiculing myself any more than is my baseline weren’t enough, as a picky eater I also avoid introducing my taste buds to things that could potentially offend any of my senses. I’ve refused to eat guava because the name sounds funny, eschewed caviar because it looks funny, and shunned bubble tea because the texture feels funny; why would I voluntarily drink something that, to me at least, smells funny? A whiff of beer reminds me of urine, wine of bad breath, vodka of ammonia. I will concede that apple martinis do smell like Jolly Ranchers in a delightful liquid form, albeit mixed with more than a hint of paint thinner.