What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? Or a name board?

To be precise, what’s in a name of a wine shop?

The authorities in one Indian state have suddenly woken up to an 69 year old law, which states that no one can advertise…or rather, openly advertise any liquor brand.

Yes, it’s the same law due to which many marquee names advertise so many different brand names of tonic water on TV, which are suspiciously advertised as capable of giving you good times.

So all the legal wine shops which sell wines and liquors legally and openly…since that is allowed; cannot have billboards advertising any of the brands which they sell.

I can see the future…I go in search of the manna which gives me a good time on weekends.

I reach the usual corner of a building by walking on the path well trodden, expecting to see the brightly coloured billboard which makes up the shop facia…but hey! Where has it gone?

I blink my eyes once…then twice. With a lump in my throat, and a quiver in my voice, I ask a neighbouring shop owner, “Where?”

With a compassionate look and a reassuring tone, he answers, “Don’t worry. It’s still there. You only have to look minutely”

That reassurance is music for my ears. With a spring in my step I bound towards my target.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

The brightly coloured billboard has been replaced by a drab little board, which just announces name of the wine shop, the license number and the time of working.

Half expecting them to ask for a prescription, I hesitantly place my demand. And lo and behold!

My demand is met instantly by the shop assistant, who disappears and appears within moments, with my manna in hand, though a tad somberly.

Three cheers to small mercies! I return to my house with my manna in hand, thankful that some things will remain the same, albeit with less glamour.

Yatindra Tawde

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