For the most part, aila holds a religious significance. Drunk right,replica watches uk it awakens divine spirits. Drunk wrong, it knocks the living daylights out of you!

 

 

Aila, the revered spirit. It symbolizes Newari culture and is considered one of the purest drinks, which is why it is offered to the gods during festivals throughout the year.gucci outlet The fiery brew is believed to ward off diseases and when you couple that with its potent taste and smooth texture, it comes as no surprise that aila is incredibly popular. For instance, hordes of devotees assemble at Basantapur during Indra Jatra to drink aila off the Bhairab idol’s mouth. And, of course,air max pas cher pulling the giant chariot of Rato Macchindranath before Bhoto Jatra definitely requires bursts of alcohol-fueled energy in the system,coach outlet so does a Lakhey when he grooves fervidly to the sounds of the dhimaya and bhushya, traditional musical instruments. In a more somber homely ambience, the drink is served in tiny clay pots called pyalas during social gatherings and bhoyes or feasts.

 


Yesterday,ugg pas cher I visited Karyabinayak for a wedding ceremony of a Newari friend who had eloped with the love of his life. Incidentally, it also happened to be my first bhoye experience. Like all things Newari, an elaborate merry of samaybaji (snacks) and spirits followed. As I waited to be served, seated on a sukul (straw mat) amidst the hullabaloo and a long line of jubilant menfolk, an elegant young lady clad in a haku patasi (black sari with red borders worn by Newari women) approached with a welcoming smile. In traditional Newari fashion, she poured a drink from a karuwa (jar) from a couple of feet up in the air. A sprout of aila landed impeccably on my pyala without a drop being spilled – a perfectly maneuvered serve, impressive and exotic to say the least for an unimaginative Kshetri like me.

 


Without further ado, I adventurously downed the brew in one go. The decision, as with all first shots, was immediately regretted. The potency of the drink burned like fire down my throat and gave my tummy a sting no grandma’s chili achaar could manifest. All efforts to avoid a funny face went futile, and in unison with fellow men gracelessly grunting and growling, I laid down the spent pyala – only to find the haku patasi lady magically reappear, ready to pour a second round. My humble refusal and repeated requests fell on deaf ears and instead resulted in patronizing laughter from other folks already on their third. After succumbing to a second and then a third, I resorted to cover the pyala with both my arms while my body lunged forward to prevent further influx. I couldn’t take it anymore.

 


It is good to note, though not reassuring, that bhoyes start with a heavy snack accompanied by aila as an aperitif, which is also served through the main course, and (surprise!) till and past dessert. At a Newari feast, having an empty pyala in front means you’ll be inevitably served more, whether or not you want it (the same goes for empty botas or leaf plates). Servers, mostly female members of the host family, walk around with watchful eyes and a karuwa to spot and replenish empty pyalas. If you think they’ll eventually run out of aila, the extra jerry cans in the corner should tell you otherwise.

 


As interesting as it is unfortunate, it is mostly illegal to produce and sell aila commercially due to limitations in regulation and taxation. Hence, the drink is prepared silently in Newari homes for bhoyes using either rice for a rich and smooth taste, or millet for a stronger flavor. Depending on one’s preference, rice or millet, along with other ingredients, are mixed with an edible organic compound called marcha, which then ferments in about five days to produce jaad (wine). Using clay and brass vessels or potasi, jaad is distilled over a wood fire stove with carefully controlled flame temperature and cooling water, both of which dictate the quality and taste of the final product. Besides festivals and gatherings, Newari families also enjoy this drink occasionally over quiet meals or when they have guests over. It is a stark contrast to other Nepali cultures, especially the conservative Brahmins, who essentially prohibit the consumption of alcohol in a family setting.

 


Aila, in fact, has found novel ways of getting into the average Nepali Generation-Y bloodstream. Dhokaima Café has reintroduced five of what it calls “locaboire” cocktails to encourage drinking locally made booze. Among these, the ones with an aila base are Nepatini, Nilo Ailarita, and Aila Mary. Bruce Owens, an aila enthusiast with a PhD in Rato Macchindranath, is partly responsible for these concoctions, which he says, are inspired by Western counterparts and have a local twist with symbolic names and history. It is worth mentioning that the drinks are quite reasonably priced, perfect for broke and thirsty lads like yours truly.

 


As for me, covering my pyala to prevent refills really didn’t fare well with the groom’s mother who had invested a lot of love and jaad to brew the aila served. Her loud shrieks, like air raid sirens, commanded me to drink complacently like any good guest at a Newari feast would and must. So, after the sixth one, I was singing old Hindi songs. After a few more, I was knocked out cold next to the bandsmen. Later that night, I swore never to drink aila ever again (but these promises, as proven time and again, come with an expiry date).

 


Painkillers and gallons of water have stood no chance against a hangover marked by splitting headaches and nausea as I write this. At least I can tell you now that it takes more than just a sharp suit and slicked-back hair to turn up at a bhoye. The next time you find yourself on a sukul at a bhoye, make sure to wear the right attitude, a Newari heart, and a tolerance level that’ll make a proud Irish cringe to immerse fully into the wonderful world of aila. 


 

Drink Courtesy: Ai-la, Kumaripati, Patan. Contact: 5008681