It was one of those IT weekends which was better spent lazying around at home, bitching about the general inconveniences of life. Instead, I was off on a trip to the royal city of Mysore. Having visited Mysore twice before, I was quite reluctant for taking up the invitation, But two things helped me make up my mind, firstly, it was a bike trip and most importantly, i was promised some good toddy, farm fresh.
So i set off to Mysore, pillion on a bike with a crazy driver in quest to quench my toddy thirst. It was not until late in the afternoon around 2:00 PM that the journey towards the farm really began. Four guys in two bikes hurried off to the outskirts of town, with worry that “If it becomes late the toddy will sour”. The Urban boy that i am, i was probably expecting to find a pub with Jimi playing and hot girls loafing around, but what i found quite suprising.
After around 12 Km’s we reached a farm behind a modest cottage and at the far end a canopy made from coconut branches under which was kept cans of neera(Toddy) . Everything that happened thereafter was totally unexpected and delightful . I had always grown up knowing that toddy was prepared on palm trees, but here there was a coconut groove dedicated for toddy( we were told once used for toddy,the trees did not yield). The toddy expert among us had a gulp of the sample and declared it as good toddy although a little sour, it was ok as we were late. I had my first sip of toddy when the sample was passed around for me. I was told that toddy was usually sweet so i was already expecting it to taste much like diet coke, but i was nowhere close. It tasted rather like sour coconut milk, the kind of sourness you know will get you high.
We ordered 8 liters of neera which was given in a vessel which usually is used to carry water in the village side , and instead of glasses we had water mugs used in bathrooms(the plastic ones with handles). The hygienic in me was already feeling awkward about vessels used, sensing my awkwardness one of them assured me that the vessels were clean and were used only for drinking neera and no other purposes, after a few gulps the hygiene really stopped to matter. All seemed right except that I did not see a place to sit, I wanted comfy sofas and high powered AC, instead we walked towards the end of the coconut groove. Under a banyan tree lied the walls a now dry canal beyond which were several trees on a slightly upward slope with a view of a beautiful mansion, the kind which you would plan to spend your retired life in. The Sun was blazing and in no time( actually around half a litre) we all were feeling Niravana, high enough to open up. The thing about drinking is it lets you bond with each other, but if you drink with your friends the bond goes on to a different level. Soon enough the talk was all emotional about life in general and love life in particular.
What enhanced the mood was the surroundings was so secluded that it was like our own personal space, we were the kings who ruled the toddy farm and were on a visit to inspect the produce of the land. Suddenly one guy was up on one of the trees and in no time two others including me were high up on the same tree. By sober and civilized standards grown men climbing a tree is a totally stupid thing to do, but that moment it felt liberating like our childhood was given back to us although for a very brief amount of time. Among other things, promises of returning to back to this farm some other day where made. As the sun was setting we devoured another 2 liters among us and were off to civilization on a pleasant(high) bike ride. Before that it was time to pay for the drinks. More surprises there 10 liters and 200 Rs, 20Rs/liter. By the far although the cheapest, the best drunken bawl ever.