Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kerala\'s love affair with alcohol

People in the southern state of Kerala are the heaviest drinkers in India, and sales of alcohol are rising fast. The BBCs Soutik Biswas examines why.

Kerala has the highest per capita consumption of alcohol in India

Jacob Varghese says he began drinking when he was nine years old, sipping on his fathers unfinished whisky and brandy in glass tumblers.

Its a terrifying story of a descent into alcoholism for this 40-year-old health inspector.

At school, he consumed cheap local liquor. He lived in a haze of alcohol through his teens and dropped out of college.

He lost a job, cut his wrists twice trying to end his life, landed up in rehabilitation centres and at the age of 32, was reduced to begging on the streets to fund his alcohol habit.

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