Posted by: cochinblogger | September 20, 2012

Schoolgirl at Liquor Store

I was in the line at a liquor store this evening to buy a bottle of brandy for my father. The line was moving at a crawl, so I had nothing to do but look around. It was then that I saw a schoolgirl, in uniform, maybe 12 or 13 years old, standing on the road very close to the pavement and looking at the liquor store. I immediately guessed that she was waiting for her father. I briefly toyed with the idea of leaving the queue to take a pic of the schoolgirl looking at the liquor store, but I’d have lost my place, so I stayed put.

After a few minutes, the father emerged from the shop with a plastic bag containing the liquor bottle. Father and daughter walked to a scooter that was parked near-by. The daughter opened her schoolbag, put the liquor bottle inside, hopped onto the scooter, and they merged with the traffic. It looked to me as though they did this regularly.

I didn’t know what to make of this incident. Is the father’s openness with his daughter to be applauded? Kerala is a state with the highest per capita liquor consumption in the country, but many drink furtively, and bars are generally dimly lit and poorly ventilated, rather like opium dens, as befits an activity conducted on the sly. But a schoolgirl, for Christ’s sake!

And was it necessary to put the bottle in her schoolbag? But maybe I’m just being squeamish.



  1. I still find it a little odd how the purchase of alcohol here in Kerala is so stigmatised while it’s consumption is so widespread..

    In the West one can buy wine, beer or liquor in any supermarket, and even many corner-shops, providing you are of age. It’s an approach which I find more honest and open.

    Would you have felt similarly shocked had the shopping been for cigarettes?!

    • I was not shocked, just a little disconcerted at his making his young daughter wait outside a liquor store — and then packing the bottle in her schoolbag. I thought maybe he could’ve left his young daughter out of his liquor-purchasing trips. But as you say, full marks to him for openness.

      I’ve sometimes seen children marking time in bars while their fathers drink. This crosses the line. OK, maybe if the bar had a play area for kids … 🙂

  2. Where I live (Massachusetts, USA), you can only buy liquor (including beer and wine) in liquor stores. People in other states think we’re puritanical or quaint or just plain crazy. 😉 Kids do come into liquor stores with their parents, though. That’s not a big deal. I’d be surprised to see a child waiting outside.

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