As I’ve mentioned before, Mom has a huge problem with alcohol, in that she hates it and feels no one should drink, ever. In the Sikh world, the consumption of alcohol is not allowed. There is a line in their Holy Text that states “those who are tempted by wine are corrupt” and their gurus (spiritual teachers) concur. Although the culture in India is changing, it is still frowned upon if you are a woman who drinks at home, and you are definitely not allowed to drink in public.
The first evening they were at the house, Dad expressed interest in having some whiskey with Ajit, and Mom apparently went off on him about how terrible that idea is and how he is not allowed to drink, none of us are. Now, I enjoy ending my day with a glass of wine and a book, curled up on the couch. This, apparently, is forbidden in the eyes of Mom.
In our desperate attempt to please the woman, Ajit and I discussed and I agreed that I would not drink in the house. (side note: if the three of them all leave to take the dogs for a walk, I can sneak a glass while their gone). Shhh.
One Sunday evening, after dinner, Mom was in the bedroom getting ready for sleep, Ajit was in the backroom with the remote finding something for his dad to watch. I walked into the kitchen to see Dad putting a bottle of Port back into the cabinet, opened! He had poured some into a coffee mug and went into the back to watch tv. What! First off, totally not fair and second… I’d better not get blamed for that.
I kept my mouth shut, figuring this bit of knowledge may come in handy down the road. Fast forward to Tuesday evening. We are all sitting at the kitchen table for dinner. Naturally, no one is speaking English and the tv is on, but also not in English, so I sat quietly eating wondering why I was even sitting at the table. I happened to look over and noticed that the open bottle of Port was gone. Interesting. Where did it go? Did Mom see it and hide it? Throw it out? Did Ajit move it? Have they been drinking without me!?
After dinner I cleaned the dishes and they took the dogs for their nightly walk. When they returned, as calmly as I could, I asked Ajit, “So, you know that bottle of Port your father opened and drank the other night? It seems to be gone. Now, I really just need to know if, after I go to bed at night, do you and him sit in the back and have wine or whiskey together? Because that’s not fair.” He immediately answered NO. Apparently, his father wanted him to have a glass, Ajit said he would not drink in the house because it was agreed upon with Mom that we wouldn’t, and he told his dad he would have to do something with it. And now, in a day and a half, it’s gone.
In the end, here’s what we found out. Dad drinks. Secretly, so as not to start an argument with Mom. He drank the whole bottle. He told Ajit during a different night walk that he does not agree with her views on drinking. It is fine to have a glass, just not in excess and not to impair judgements. So, when he feels like he wants a drink, he has one, just hides it.
And now I feel bad for the guy. Almost eighty years old and he can’t even openly have a drink with his grown adult son. We decided that we need to kidnap Dad and take him out for a couple beers one day. Just as soon as we figure out how to keep Mom occupied so she doesn’t find out.