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Calling the Shots

Eight months ago, when the Life Unlimited journey began for me, I was an eager, excited bunch of nerves. Today, as I step in and out of my rollercoaster life as a bartender, I recognise in myself a sense of confidence that I clearly lacked back then. Life Unlimited has given me not only an opportunity to make a living with an interesting skill but also a deep faith in myself and my abilities. It has given me a chance to be independent. 


When I called up STIR bartending academy, I was told that they had stopped offering courses for a while which left me crestfallen. However, thanks to Google I was led to another Academy that had been affiliated with STIR for a while. They now had their own company called Flaming Trio and they offered a 6 month course entailing a comprehensive study on the different types of alcoholic beverages, Flair and Mixology. My course began in June and I had my first on field experience at a party in August at JW Marriot.


The last few months have involved a lot of juggling. And not just behind the bar. It took much discipline on my part to make sure my grades didn’t dip in spite of the passionate hours spent mixing drinks. The travel opportunities were abundant: Janana Mahal (Udaipur), Ahmedabad, Silvaasa, Baroda, Pune- and so were the things I learnt. With bartending, the challenge wasn’t simply to learn to whip up cocktails that suited different people’s tastes. It involved dealing with irate customers, overbearing drunks, uncooperative hotel staff and often, fast depleting stocks of alcohol.


It was a little difficult convincing my parents about the idea of a career in bartending. But however clichéd this may sound, my earnest conviction garnered my mother’s support eventually. Someday I hope my father will understand my choice the way my mother has.


When I reflect upon it, I realise how much I’ve come to love it all. The unpredictability of each party, appreciation from pleased customers, unusual working hours (something I totally adore, considering my fear of being stuck in a 9 to 5 job) and knowing that there exists some form of acceptability for female bartenders in India. I see a long path ahead of me and many milestones that I hope to cross. And yet, I love how happy this journey continues to make me every day.