“Anything that is free or complimentary will, and should be accepted. Gracefully. Of course. Unless it is yellow dal.” – Khos
On the Road:
I am not a big fan of wine. But this was free. Gratis! All I had to do was get there.
It was a tough call: Get up early, take a bus for 4 hours, lug my heavy camera equipment with me, spend two days with Mumbai’s wine snobs and probably get bored shitless or give up the lure of free wine. Guess what?
The next morning I was on my way to the Sula Wine & Music festival. But I had already sworn my allegiance to the fizzy golden juices of the gods: beer. And I am not a cheater. But this was free. Yes, I cheated.
En route my bags were misplaced, we were dropped off at the wrong hotel, I had to walk in the scorching sun with my heavy-ass tripod and the service apartment had no electricity. But the wine was free, I was newly single and a drunken weekend like this was supposed to be my ‘rebound’. A scene changer if you must.
There is something liberating about beautiful scenery and as Mumbai retreated into the distance I felt the poet within me rise. But then the music festival traffic kicked in and the moment was lost.
We made it just in time for the first of two wine tastings: Here we met some fancy guy saying some fancy words about how they make their wine and what makes it different. I struggled to finish the first two glasses but every glass after flowed down my throat easier than the last. And faster. This wine stuff wasn’t so bad after all. I was beginning to feel classy.
Sophistication soon led to redemption as I staggered off to see Young The Giant perform. The lights were bright and hazy, the music was loud yet melodic, and I had my big time content face on. These are the small moments that count, the ones that are blurry and vivid at the same time. Unlike my last relationship which was slowly drowning in my fifth Chardonnay.
Clear skies and a clearer mind. The world was a nice tint of yellow. Another beautiful drive to the Sula Vineyards.
After getting felt up by two hairy men at security I was ready to seize the day. Carpe that Diem. I quickly performed my duties and guzzled a million glasses of different blends of Chardonnays, Cabernets, Sauvignon Blancs and some sparkling Rose. Finally, I knew what these terms meant. Buzzed and buzzing, I walked to the rooftop bar to soak in some sun and think about stuff. Not my ex. I had forgotten all about her.
I high-fived the lead singer of Will & The People while he was performing. I was ecstatic; I just hope that it was Will. They sounded pretty darn good unless it was the Riesling singing. I could love everyone right now. Even my ex’s ex.
I stumbled my way across the amphitheatre to the dimly lit VIP section like a young giant myself. They had beanbags and fairy lights - man these VIPs really live it up. I was slowly getting jealous until all the wine inside my head suddenly told me that I was a VIP too. There is a god!
On the Road again:
My two days had passed quickly. Not wanting to go back immediately, a couple of friends and I grabbed a chill brunch at one of the other vineyards. We took a small detour to visit the lake nearby where we took photos and did not talk to each other. After contemplating our days of wine, no women and song we set off again with a true love for free wine and sweet memories of behaving like a connoisseur.
I rode shotgun with the wind in my face and some Eddie Vedder to further season the beautiful feeling. I peacefully dozed off while my beard gathered dust in the wind.
Words & Photography: Karan Khosla