Samar Halarnkar uses a Mumbai booze party — and the smashed bottles in its wake — to make larger points about the systematic subversion of the legal machinery. This is his set-up:
The bottle-smashing is required by the excise department, to whom it proves that as much liquor as the bottles contained was actually consumed on the premises. The smashing is preceded by a mess of paperwork and inspection. All this to throw a party. It also applies to domestic parties. It begins with visits to the excise office – there are many, you must find the right one for your area, and no online applications please – to get a liquor permit. You can then expect a visit from excise officials, who warn of prosecution risk, if you serve that scotch you carried through duty free. You will then get a list of neighbourhood liquor shops – only they can sell you the booze for the party. You get a little booklet, in which you enter the date of party and names of guests. You might get another visit during your party, to ensure you are in compliance of all requirements. At the end of it they will come, of course, to count bottles – in homes; in hotels, they smash.