Quarter Govindan’s Cup of Woes
If you go by the book, almost every pub and bar in TN thrives on illegalities. On paper, Chennai has few real pubs or bars. Most are 'permit rooms', where only residents of the hotel can be entertained. For the record, the permit rooms maintain a ledger to show that guests in their mandatory 15-odd rooms have consumed alcohol that 400 people would consume in an evening.
Anand also digs deep into the modus operandi of the TASMAC outlets, which have a virtual monopoly over the liquor retail industry in the state (excluding pubs which are part of hotels)
The middle class, though, has only a sad choice at Tasmac outlets which rarely stock even regulars like Old Monk rum and Kingfisher beer.
Not only are Tasmac outlets filthy, they also force brands like Cosmopolitan whiskey and Day & Night rum on buyers. Sometimes even Romanov and Blue Riband are unavailable.
No prizes for guessing the weekend destination for the thirsty Tamil kudimagan (citizen).
Chennai's loss is
's gain. The depressing liquor scene in the city forces many to risk driving three hours along the narrow, winding Pondicherry East Coast Roadon weekends. , where you can rent a premium AC room for Rs 750, offers a spirited welcome Pondicherry
Since Pondy is sandwiched on all sides by TN, people take a local bus from Cuddalore, Villupuram, Kanchipuram and Chennai, drink their fill, and return. Budget-conscious drinkers take a bus from Chennai (for Rs 60) in the morning, drink over lunch and dinner in Pondy, and return by night. For Chennai revellers, Pondy offers solace. The several accidents every weekend on the ECR, due to drunken driving, are hardly a deterrent.