One of the main reasons why my wife had pestered me into accepting a transfer from Mumbai to Hyderabad was the imposition of dry law by the NT Rama Rao govenment.
She believed that in the absence of beer bars, I would be compelled to drink water or at the most some aerated water to quench my thirst.
But even after a quarter-century of our fevicol-stuck marriage, she had failed to fathom my ingenuity.
Thanks to a childhood chum, who had risen to the rank of a colonel in the army and was posted at one of the defence establishments in Secunderabad, my mug of beer remained full to the brim throughout the dry spell.
My work as a creative director in an advertising agency allowed me ample scope to steal an hour or two during the lunch break to drive down to the officers' mess.
Away from the golden eagle eyes of my wife and secure in thought that her thunder bolt cannot strike me, I merrily guzzled gallons after gallons of 'officer's choice' in the company of my colonel buddy.
She did smell a rat at times, specially when she found me in a particular jovial mood. But she could never pin me down. What about the pungent smell of the brew, you may ask. Several packets of 'gutka' spiked with heavy doses of mint used to achieve the effect that some patented multinational chewing gum claimed to attain through the multimillion clip on the television.
Ever suspicious as she is, my wife started keeping a close tab on my spendings. My daily 'pocket allowance' was reduced to Rs 20. This had little effect on my beer-guzzling routine.
How, you might ask, did I manage the luxury of downing an average of two bottles with just Rs 20? Simple. Like in the past, I never paid for my drinks, which invariably came courtesy the colonel and the eager clients of my ad-agency who had this habit of throwing a working lunch every time they wanted to discuss their campaign.
In fact, I must say this to the credit of the golden yellow, frothy brew that such working lunches in local pubs helped our ad-agency retain many an account. The secret being the coincidence that most of my clients, in their late 40's, also found in working lunches a convenient excuse to steal a beer or two in the afternoon away from the needling eyes of their spouses.
(Advisory: Don't let your wife read this article. It is injurious to your health.) I must admit, though, I always felt guilty about conning my wife almost every day. Her searching looks invariably rattled my bones, but I always put up a brave front.
Dodging the wife becomes a second nature to a veteran husband like me. In fact, it is because of this that our marriage has weathered the last 25 years and become well-seasoned.
Moral of the story: Like the stolen kiss, a stolen beer gives better kick. Any doubt? Try it out.