[This post is going to talk about cannabis, a drug which is locally procured in some parts of India. Please do not go ahead if it is likely to hurt your sensibilities. I am not encouraging/discouraging the usage of drugs. I am just stating facts and narrating a real-life experience. If you choose to go ahead, well, happy reading! 🙂 ]
Bhang lassi. Or Power-lassi. Or Bang-drink. Or, as it is known in Pushkari lingo, Special-lassi. A phrase that would have meant a well made lassi in any other part of India, but not in Pushkar. Here, it takes a whole new meaning. It is lassi sure enough, albeit with cannabis mixed in it (I think). If you are not careful with it, this innocent looking drink can take you to hell (or heaven, depends on how you choose to perceive it) and back in a span of just a few hours.
Bhang lassi was on my “to-do list” for quite a while, even before the trip. I had heard my sister rave about it often and was looking forward to be introduced to it by someone who knew what it is all about. Therefore, the group-trip to Pushkar seemed like a perfect opportunity to tick this experience off my list.
Bhang-lassi was on the agenda as a post-lunch drink, for day 1. I decided to skip my lunch [Mistake no.1] and have this lassi straight away [Mistake no.2]. It is a thick, slushy, curd based drink, mixed with some herbs and powders. It took me some twenty minutes to drink 3/4th of the glass, after which, my system refused ANY further intake of it. After downing this drink, everything was OK for the first 45 minutes. So much so, that I felt that the experience was unnecessarily over-hyped. [Mistake no.3] An hour passed, and suddenly things started slowing down and my body started relaxing. It was all good initially. It would have ended well, had it stopped at that. But no, that was just the beginning. As my mind started loosening its grip over my being, I sat still to avoid any dizziness and clumsiness. What happened next over the span of next 15 hours was a time warp of the worst kind. It started with vision going slightly blurred and the breath losing its pattern. The blurring continued way till the vision reduced to a view from a pin-hole camera. All the voices that were clear initially, got washed over by a psychedelia of irregular sound pattern. The kaleidoscope of voices and noises got reduced to a distant clutter in the space and a strange feeling of helplessness started seeping in. All these factors got multiplied as the time seemed to stretch itself into eternity. With vision and hearing ability partially hijacked, it was difficult for me to believe that this was the normal after-effect of taking cannabis. The fact that ground started seeming shaky, in every sense of the word, didn’t help either. The hallucination of permanent sinking multiplied the paranoia multiple folds. After all my senses gave up, I lied down in a corner at the restaurant itself. Trying to walk down to the hotel-room was too ambitious a thought. At THAT very moment, a couple of us deemed it absolutely necessary to video-record the antics of the rest of the group. The aim, I was told, was to get 1 million Youtube hits. I will be glad if that video manages to get 10 hits in total. Of the 12 of us, 10 people who were bhang-affected, reacted in extreme polarity. It was chaotic on multiple levels. I personally think that the ones who passed out were the ones who enjoyed the experience the most. In fact, as opposed to paranoia, I would have enjoyed the outcome, had I already known as to what to expect and how to take it. [By the way, this is precisely what the aim of this post is.] It might be enjoyable for some people to wake up in their own puke and piss (yes, all the while, my biggest fear was that I’ll pee in my pants ), but it for sure, is not my idea of holiday or fun. Not only that, it brought all my deepest fear to the surface. I was scared that my friends would leave me behind for the night, at the restaurant itself. The best part about Pushkar is that most of the restaurants are pretty expert in handling drug-stoned tourists. Thankfully for us, our hotel was right across our site of (mis)adventure. Also, the group trip ensured that I was in safe hands even when I was stoned. That said, it is absolutely must that you ensure a few precautionary measures before you go ahead with Bhang.
All I would say is, to experience Bhang-lassi it is advisable that you:
1) Get your drink made in your supervision: No, this isn’t a disrespect to your friends/acquaintances. It is just that, YOU and ONLY YOU know what your body is capable of handling. Intuitively. Even if you’ve never had it before. The process of supervising your drink being made also keeps you aware of what is going into your body.
2) Go easy, to begin with.
3) Do not panic, at all. It does not help.
4) Puke it out if you want to.
5) Do not drink water thinking that it’ll dilute the effect. No. It will not. In fact, it reinforces itself in waves every time you drink water.
6) Figure out a few things before you go ahead. Factors like- what to expect, how to get rid of it if you do not like the feeling, the medication in case it is needed, the food-categories that compound/dilute the effect etc.
7) If possible, take this activity up in premises where it is NOT a problem if you pass out. This will help you in staying calm in case you lose senses.
8) If it is for the first time that you are going to be experiencing inebriation, it is advisable that you have a sober company while you are at it. And no, when I say “the first time”, I am not taking alcohol into account. Alcohol is different.
9) The effects of Bhaang do not wane off quickly. It might take as long as 24 hours, or even more before you start feeling completely in control of your being. I experienced lucid-dreaming 48 hours after its consumption.
The best way, I was later told, is to “sleep it off”. I repeat, the ones who did pass out, confirmed it. So now you know what to do, right? After all, the reason we undertook this research was to deduce the ways of making ‘bhang-lassi’ an enjoyable experience for the rest of the humanity. (Ahh! The social causes I travel for!)
This trip has taken one experience off my to-do list. Special-lassi, now has a [✔] next to it. I am done with anything ‘special’ in that sense for some time now. Would I do it again? Most probably not. Or maybe yes, who knows?