The human brain is considered to be very powerful. It can create and destroy relationships, moments and most importantly life. My experience living by myself as a working girl has made me realize that I can either make or break these moments that define life.
Growing up, I have never felt stressed or pressurised . The secure four walls of education, parents and friends proved to be a very strong shield. Stress related to performance, pressure from friends to ‘fit in’ – were phrases I heard, but never experienced. I did worry about things, but definitely not “stressed”. Nor did I experience any form of peer pressure. Looks like I have been lucky when it comes to having friends and acquaintances who understand and respect my choices.
My first visit to a club was at the age of 17. I made friends with people from all walks of life. And surprisingly they were all accommodative of my non-drinking habit. They didn't think I was being a spoilsport but they often had a secure feeling of someone sane being around them. My parents never worried about that either. Since alcohol was always kept in the open at home and dad would often offer to teach us (My brother and I) ‘the right way to drink’. They knew that I hated the smell and I think I was 4 when I smelt whiskey for the first time.
United kingdom was no different either. May be I felt stressed for the first time because of the intense masters course but definitely not peer pressure. I made a lot of friends and had a great time at parties. There was no necessity to ‘drink’ at all to have a good time with them. They respected my choice of juice over alcohol and in fact in many situations they would buy one just for me.
Bangalore seems to have brought up a different situation altogether. People feel threatened that I don’t drink whilst in pubs. They feel I am not contributing to the ‘fun’ evening by opting to be sober. It just doesn’t make sense. Like a good friend said – “It is indeed quite surprising for people to find open minded and enterprising independent girls say no to alcohol. I don't know why there is a prejudice of that sort or why people assume such things.”
Young adults in Bangalore come from different parts of the country, work for top notch companies and seem to have lost their identity. The sudden rush of liquid cash has changed their perception on life altogether. I am asked a lot of questions around why I don’t drink or they phrase it saying – when did you quit or why did you quit. And I answer back saying – I never quit drinking.
I am not against alcohol or those who consume alcohol. It’s a simple choice because I don’t like it. Aren’t human beings allowed to make this simple choice and not be questioned on it?
The brain is a powerful decision maker. It cant do anything humanly possible or even those impossible. Peer pressure can be good and bad. I have always seen the good side of it. Right from sports to academics to cultural activities.
After having penned down these words I feel these acquaintances are not worthy of my time. If my choice of abstaining from alcohol cannot be respected, then I rather be a fool among a bunch of intellectuals, than an intellectual among a bunch of fools.