Saturday, July 3, 2010

Total Eclipse

“I was so horrified when I read about the ills of smoking that I gave up reading”

DISCLAIMER: The protagonist in this article bears no resemblance to any person, living or alive. For the sake of artistic expedience, the article has been written in the first person-this should not be misconstrued as a reflection of, or upon, the author’s own proclivities which remain irreproachably untainted and chaste.

Never in the history of human strife has so much antagonism been directed by so many against so few. The battle lines have been drawn and are gradually tightening about the exclusive clique of individuals who have chosen not to forsake the perennial companion of human solitude-the cigarette.

Restaurants and bars, theatres and parks, offices and markets, they have all devised newer and more nefarious ways to keep smoking at bay. Why, you are no longer permitted to smoke even in the privacy of your own car! (Well, technically you are but only if the car is moving or if the car is stationary but the windows are rolled up or the windows are rolled down in a moving car but there is nobody in the vicinity of x metres or.....God knows what the damn rule is-this is where I need a cigarette!).

Ostensibly, all of this is being done for the sake of humanity at large-not only are the smokers given definite disincentives to quit an injurious habit, it also ensures permanent riddance for those afflicted by passive smoking. Agreed, it would be criminally offensive to blow rings of smoke around a new-born baby’s pate. But banning smoking at virtually every possible location on the pretext of public health is inane-given the ubiquitous defilement of our surroundings, that’s like having a urinating and non-urinating section in a swimming pool!

As for the question of kicking the butt, believe me when I say (from a purely vicarious perspective) that there is no incentive required to do so. A very big misconception people suffer is that quitting smoking is difficult. Nonsense, I say-my friend Vineet himself had already quit about 26 times at last count. And although I would not call him a heavy smoker, he does get through about two lighters a day.

Yes, continuing to quit cigarettes may be a little trickier but then most smokers really do not see the logic in it all. To begin with, cigarettes are a much cheaper and easily available alternative to nicotine patches. There is the obvious benefit of getting your sense of smell back but with the pungent odours we are subjected to, who would want it back anyway. Possibly the only set of factors that could induce a severance from the Great God Nick-O-Teen would have to do with a play on human emotions-the frown of a child, the concern of an elder or a bewitching smile from the better half.

But even these are mere possibilities. Those given to the bliss that cigarettes afford would aver that “a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke”. Cigarettes don’t just give the illusion that you are doing something when you do nothing. They are companions, counsellors and comrades. They are a balm to soothe away the problems of the world, the perfect accompaniment to all forms of hedonism. They are consistent, reliable and convenient. And best of all, they ask nothing in return-like the proverbial moth enraptured by the flame, they ask only that they be allowed to do their duty, even as they slowly perish for your sake.

And if these are sentiments that only smokers can relate to, the uninitiated could savour the enigmatic temptation of a cigarette by thinking of it as a beautiful woman who also knows Tendulkar’s statistics!

"A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?"


  1. very well written sir...btw, hav u heard of a term called confirmation bias :)

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