Desi D Tries Bhang For The First Time, And No It Wasn’t Illegal!
Camera: Sumit Badola, Abhishek Ranjan
Editor: Kunal Mehra
Yup, I did it. Tried bhang for the first time. How’s the josh, you ask? Still high, sir.
In case you are wondering how and why, here’s how it all transpired.
A Nondescript Sarkaari ‘Bhang’ Theka
A sarkaari bhang theka. Wait, what?! At least, that’s what my first thought was when I got to know of the govt-authorised bhang outlet in Noida Sector 15. Of course, I was excited to take the ‘trip’.
The Bhang Theka, BT if you will, looks pretty ordinary, and is sandwiched between a gents’ hairdresser and a women’s beauty parlour. So, if you are ‘high-maintenance’, please stay away. The shop is run by SP Singh, who told me he got its license from the UP excise department 25 years ago, and it has since been run by him and his brother.
Being the sole woman in the theka, must say it was pretty amusing not just for me, but also the vendor. Though the bhang golis start from Rs 2, I got some for Rs 5. There were lots of labourers — rickshawallahs, newspaper wallahs, factory workers, etc who had come to get their fix. There was also a newly-made sadhu, who bought bhang worth Rs 20.
Some of the customers were white collar workers too, who were taking a goli or two to unwind for the night. The vendor told me that some engineering students too buy some bhang for them to get their concentration going. Shiva, you are not alone! The only rule to remember, according to UP excise department, is that anyone under the age of 18 is not allowed to be sold the drug.
What can I say, man? The trip, which lasted 2-3 hours, had equal doses of laughter, anxiety, and sometimes so much concentration even my third eye had given up.
What I Learnt
That bhang, as long as it is scored responsibly from a sarkari shop, and is had in moderation, helps people relax. After all, it is not without reason that India has a sizeable culture of bhang drinking on festivals like Holi and Shivratri, right?
But of course, it goes without saying that bhang is extremely potent. Health experts have pointed out its many ill-effects, ranging from hallucinations to paranoia, to long-term side effects.
So, the final question: will I do it again? Never! I am too much of a control freak. But here’s what I did learn: that it’s a common man’s drug. And as long as it is had in moderation, we are no one to judge.
(This is episode 5 of Desi D, a series on the desi way of living, featuring Divyani Rattanpal!)