"Smoking is the inhalation of the smoke of burning tobacco encased in cigarettes, pipes, and cigars. Casual smoking is the act of smoking only occasionally, usually in a social situation or to relieve stress. A smoking habit is a physical addiction to tobacco products. Many health experts now regard habitual smoking as a psychological addiction, too, and one with serious health consequences."-Barbara Boughton
This in reply to all those out there, (and in here!) who have asked me why I'm smoking, and received a dumb look in reply. Firstly, I'd ask all of you who never smoked themselves, not to ask me, or anyone else this question ever. You don't know how it feels, so I'll never sound 'justified' to YOU. But you should read this, hence please do.
When my lips touched the filter of a cigarette for the first time, I was in class IX. It was the age of experiments. Everyone around me were experimenting with things. My partner at school, Trishita, and her group of friends bought a packet of FLAKE and managed to have one fag each in the school bathroom. I begged them to give me the rest of the packet. They did. And my bathrom at home was my laboratory. Mum thought I was burning love-letters in there. Her nose wasn't trained enough back then to detect the difference in various forms of smoke. Now, it is.Thanks to me.
That was the end of it. I had hardly managed to learn to pull the smoke, without coughing it out at every attempt to inhale. My then-better half freaked out, and coaxed me into donating away the new packet I had asked my partner to buy for me.
Come class XII, life changed, a seven-year relation ended, i.e., my better half's identity changed. Disha was my new partner at school. She shared my flare for going wild. She treated me to a cocktail, and gifted me a packet of Benson & Hedges on the ocassion of her birthday. They were stronger than the cheap FLAKE I had un-successfully experimented with two years ago. Even this time, my bathroom served the purpose. I smoked one whole and went off. It was the first time I was experiencing any form of intoxication. My head was reeling, I couldn't stand on my feet. Every nerve seemed to have gone numb, my vision blurred. Today, when I reflect back on that day, I think I was over-reacting. But Deshraj says, even he had a similar experience with his first cigarette. So, that's how my first successful fag turned out.
I had one more of those B&H, and returned the rest to Disha. The reason is very silly, at least in the present context. I felt guilty. Or, rather, someone succeded in making me feel guilty.
Come December 2007, life took the most unimaginable turn possible. I chose a 5-month long passion over a 7-year long relation. The toll it took on me during the last week, amidst all the pre-board-study load, resulted in me buying a packet of Gold Flake. Everyone far and near started their maiden lectures, but I had learnt to live life for myself by then; I had learnt to choose between what I want out of myself and what others want out of me. However, I didn't need to buy another after all the 10 were consumed.
The passion I talked about a while ago, died out by March 2008. My next purchase of cigarettes, a Wills Classic pack (@ Rs.80), thus happened in April 2008. They happened to be stronger stuff than GF, and I found out why cigarettes appeal to me. The feeling of numbness, the feeling of detachment from the world around; i.e. the cause of anguish it brings, is welcome at certain moments.
June 2008 marked the official end of a 6-month long 'fast-forwarded' story. Since July, I have been buying cigarettes everyday. Everyday. During the initial days, I thought it was just one of those bad habits one wants to cultivate when they leave home. But a month ago, I had 17 cigarettes a day; 6 of them being consumed literally back-to-back (lighting the next cigarette with the butt of the previous). Henceforth, I realised, its an addiction. An addiction to replace any of those unhealthy relations I indulged in all these years. As I already said, as long as I am smoking, I can keep myself detached from the rest of the world, I can numb my senses towards all form of pain, physical and emotional (I remember a particular day when a cigarette relieved me from a stomach-ache resulted from over-eating). One may question the need for this detachment; one may argue that smoking doesn't diminish the cause of pain, so what's the benefit? But, I have discovered that the detachment is a boon as well; if I don't feel any attachment to the cause, I don't feel the pain as well.
Why I chose this day for publishing this post, is that, after a couple of weeks of 'less than 5 cigarettes a day', I have recovered from viral meningitis (but not the incessant and intense coughing I carry almost all-the-year-round since class VII/VIII); I had eight today.
This post deserves a mention of Sohom Chakroborty, a 2nd year guy at my college, who tried dissuading me against smoking by telling me about his experiences with darbs. He says that, for him, having good food is the greatest pleasure on earth, smoking fails to match it. Hey Desh, what do you say?(Desh refers to Deshraj, one of my best friends, who LOVES food, who LOVES cigarettes as well.)