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  • Downing a quart is child's play for five-year-old 'brandy boy'

    Downing a quarter measure of brandy at one go is child's play perhaps only for the best of tipplers. But five-year-old Eeranna, a school dropout from Davanagere in Karnataka, does just that, and in double-quick time.

    Although the child now drinks the locally brewed liquor for a high, barely 18 months ago the drink used to be his asthma medication - the only relief his parents, both daily wage labourers, could afford.

    Recently, when Karnataka's excise minister M. P. Renukacharya visited Davanagere, local leaders took Eeranna to the minister and the boy showed him his 'skill'. And that heralded change in the child's life.

    The minister was horrified to see the boy polishing off the liquor with relish. He summoned Eeranna's parents and inquired about their circumstances. The minister found that the boy belonged to "an extremely poor family" and that they didn't "even have a proper hut". "The government has decided to adopt Eeranna and take care of his education till college," the minister then said.

    He also directed the Davanagere district administration to allot a house to Eeranna's parents under a housing scheme.

    Srinivasa Naik, who brought Eeranna to the minister, said the boy had even taken to stealing brandy from his relatives.

    "He is addicted to brandy. Whenever his father refused him liquor, he would steal it. His parents did not bother too much about him as they had their hands full," he said.

    Naik said Eeranna's relatives used to show off his "drinking skills". "They would take Eeranna to local fairs and he would down bottles of brandy in minutes before huge crowds," he said.

    Naik had spotted the boy at one such fair and convinced the child's parents to take him to the minister. "The local hospital will conduct a check-up," Davanagere district social welfare officer Dr Suchetna Swaroop said.
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