As the Indian population sees its standard of living increase. As the Indian culture bears witness to a booming economy with a larger middle class, so too has its society born witness to the increase in alcohol consumption. One group that has shown a dramatic increase in binge drinking are young women.
In the ultra-conservative Indian Province of Kerala it was never accepted that women should drink liquor, although its men are well known to be alcohol guzzlers.
That seems to be changing as more women in Kochi, considered the most happening of Kerala’s cities, have acquired a taste for alcohol like their big metro counterparts.
According to Alcohol and Drug Information Centre-India (ADIC-India), about three per cent of the Indian population are female drinkers.
ADIC-India does not have figures about women drinkers in Kerala, as current studies are confined to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai.
Since, traditionally, Indian women don’t drink like the menfolk do, ADIC-India director Dr. Johnson J.Edayaranmula believes it is the growing influence of western lifestyles that is responsible for the increasing number of women drinkers.
While women drinking within limits should not arouse the moral indignation that it unfortunately does, over-indulgence for women, as for men, is highly dangerous.
A True Story
The real danger though is with adolescent drinking. Dr S.D. Singh, a de-addiction expert, remembers the shock he and his colleagues had when a 13-year-old girl was brought for medical help.
Teachers found her reeking of alcohol in class. The girl’s father used to drink and when she started to sip a few drops from his glass, nobody in the family thought of it as a big issue.
But over time, she became alcoholic and her parents had to seek medical help for her to overcome the habit.
Dr Singh cautions that young people are particularly susceptible because of the growing club culture and the fact that alcohol consumption is looked on with much greater tolerance.
A Woman’s Secret
Women alcoholics are on the rise in Kerala, particularly, in a city like Kochi. Unfortunately, most women addicted to alcohol do not seek medical assistance as of now. Many women alcoholics do not want to be seen in the company of male alcoholics. They prefer to keep it a secret.
Once again, I think it is better to have a good alcohol awareness class before you start drinking. It is interesting to see the role alcohol plays in other cultures.