Alcohol is quite a contentious issue in India for a number of social, political and religious reasons. Some states go as far as outright banning it, others, like Goa, take a more laid back approach. Both policies bring their own set of problems. Mumbai has taken the decision to force anyone who wants to go to a bar to get a permit from the police which has to be shown each time you buy a drink.
Chennai, a deeply conservative city, has had a love-hate relationship with the stuff. Successive governments first restrict the licensing laws to much fanfare before quietly relaxing them later on.
Today, after firstly restricting the sale of alcohol in the state, the ruling party allowed the licensing hours to be extended to 12 midnight for some places and completely relaxed to 24 hours for 5 star hotels in the city, giving customers to opportunity to get a drink any time they feel like it.
Now, I’m not sure whether to feel a great sense of pride or rapidly go and check myself in to the nearest Alcoholics Anonymous group because this afternoon I get phone calls from two different hotels inviting me to come and enjoy extended drinking hours at their respective bars!