And so it begins ……

Johnnie Walker Blue Label


When it is not blue, it is not red – at least, not necessarily.

Our teen-days were different, though. Red. Those were red days. Tea from the roadside stall was red. The sun while peeping through the east horizon, was red. Roses in the garden of rich neighbour were red. And, of course, the flags were red. You just cannot afford to ignore it. Grow up, in Red.

The boy grows. Red tea gets replaced with ‘infusion’ of Calcutta Coffee House. Che has to make room for Flaubert, Samuelson forces his entry aside Marxian economics. Red gets a different shade in ‘Old Monk’ rum and Charminar cigarette. Proletariat – still, by own definition.

Years have gone past. The grown up man acquired the taste of whisky. Soviet Union disintegrated. China opened up. Johnnie Walker Red Label became one of the worst in taste and experience.

The day is for Blue Label. That is how, after a strenuous work-out, one and a half peg of whisky, down deep inside, has opened up all the senses. Smooth. Cool. Calming. Then, a crippling effect through the nervous system. The room on the sixth floor is without light. Dark. Black. Red tinges of the wall were completely absorbed inside the black environment. Five hundred meters away, through the French window, waves of the Indian Ocean turn into white foam on the shoreline.

No longer red. It is Blue. Blue Label from Johnnie Walker stable. The glass needs to be refilled. The man asks the boy – isn’t blue the colour of aristocrats? Isn’t whisky bourgeois? That too, Blue Label? The boy replies – this is the first taste of Blue Label for you. The bottle was a gift from a junior colleague. You haven’t piled up wealth through exploitation and indulged in bourgeois extravaganza.

First sip off the third peg was tumbling inside, but senses were crisp. The man wonders why would a junior colleague gift such an expensive whisky. A liquid factor – he thought. Like the ocean – there, just past the window!

The small moon is perhaps clear up in the sky. Rays are reflected on the water surface.

The boy tries to recollect his school physics – is this a case of refraction or total internal reflection? The man wants to know how light is the moonlight that it can dance on the water, but does not go down under.

He holds his glass aloft to form a straight line through a point between his nose and forehead and then, takes the imaginary line stretched through the window all the way up to the point where the moonlight is still dancing on the water body. He cannot reach there. His eyes twitch. He continues to hold the whisky glass at the point between his nose and the forehead and tries to look through to the white patch of moonlight on the ocean. Amber colour of the liquid inside the glass seen at the background of white moonlight and black distance, now seems to be turning red. The man tumbles, confused. The glass falls on the carpet. He switches on the light, goes to reach the bottle for replenishment.

Yes, blue. It’s not Red, but Blue Label, indeed!

A total internal reflection – the boy murmurs.


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