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Neat-Picking: Drinking The Heavens In The Fault In Our Stars

Neat-Picking: Drinking The Heavens In The Fault In Our Stars

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The Fault In Our Stars, the John Green novel that inspired the Hollywood movie by the same name, gets an official remake in Hindi with Dil Bechara that releases on Disney+ Hotstar on July 24.

You already know all this because of the tremendous media and social media coverage that Dil Bechara has received in the wake of lead actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide on June 14. I am not going to add more to that in this piece, partly because I believe we need to move on from this tragic episode and partly because there’s much more to say than just Rajput’s suicide when it comes to Dil Bechara and the book it’s inspired from.

Released in 2012, The Fault In Our Stars tells a simple heart-warming but ultimately heart-breaking love story between its leads. In the book, 16-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster suffers from thyroid cancer that’s spread to her lungs. She reluctantly attends a cancer support group where she finds 17-year-old Augustus Walters who is in remission after osteosarcoma, a cancerous bone tumour, causes him to lose his right leg.

Eventually, the duo fall in love and Augustus suggests that Hazel visit Amsterdam with him to meet Peter van Houten, the author of An Imperial Affliction that features a cancer-stricken girl much like Hazel. Here the characters taste freedom for the first time – not just from their surroundings but also from the reality of their situation.

Peter’s assistant arranges a dinner for them before their meeting with the author where the duo celebrate by drinking champagne for the first time. Alcohol and smoking aren’t things that cancer-afflicted patients should consume but they decide to let loose with the rules for one night. As their champagne arrives, the waiter asks if they know what were the first words of Dom Perignon, the man credited with inventing champagne said? When the replies in the negative, he says,

“He called out to his fellow monks, ‘Come quickly: I am tasting the stars.’”

In the Hollywood movie as well as the book, this is a pivotal moment. It marks the crescendo of the most special night both characters will ever have. Almost immediately the next day, they are disgusted when they meet Peter and he turns out to be nothing like the writer they imagined but is a mean drunk who ruins the whole purpose of the trip. Augustus’ cancer also comes back with a roar and he passes away leaving a heartbroken Hazel to pick up the pieces.

“I like this world. I like drinking champagne. I like not smoking. I like Dutch people speaking Dutch.”

Hazel’s worldview is inextricably linked with the champagne experience. While in reality, Dom Perignon’s words may have been pure conjecture, their staying power and link to celebrating life to the fullest is undiminished to this day.

How many of us have longed for this wretched year to end, lockdowns to be lifted and celebrate feeling alive with some champagne? I know I have. At a time when we’re getting creative with homemade recipes and picking up on trends like Dalgona coffee and Banana bread, it is the feeling of tasting comfort dishes and drinking our favourite beverages that makes us believe all is good with the world.

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Not just that, restaurants and bars are also places where we celebrate important occasions with those close to us. Whether it’s a team lunch or a romantic dinner, we need the familiarity of our favourite places serving food and drinks that will wow us and make those celebrations even more special. Think about it, chances are that some of your most cherished memories have some or the other connection with a restaurant and bar celebration. This is why we’re especially sad that many restaurants are shutting down and we wrote our first column on them.

That we’re so far away from indulging ourselves tells us just how much distance we need to cover before we come back to the world we left before Covid-19 changed everything. Only then can we go out to drink and truly taste the stars.

There’s one more line in The Fault In Our Stars that probably won’t make it to the Hindi remake. But in the wake of Rajput’s death and the feeling of ennui and paralysis that four months of lockdown have brought us, it’s a relevant quote that I want you to ponder upon. It goes like this:

“Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.”

PS: If you’re a beverage professional who wants to use our platform to have their voice heard, we’d love to discuss your ideas. Send us a DM on Instagram or email at gurgl.site@gmail.com and let’s get started. Perks include having your own author box and having your stories shared by us across social platforms.  

Loves to travel and taste drinks around the world

Favourite drink - Vietnamese Coffee
Favourite spirit - Turkish Raki

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