Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Smoke that Cheers

This post has been sparked off by reading Scott Adam's deliberately controversial little post on smokers and smoking.

When I gave up smoking at the end of last year it was the culmination of several years of seesawing. What finally worked for me was the thought that I'd be living with the in-laws and it would be problematic (to understate the point) to smoke at 'home'. Since I don't believe in being the kind of person who rushes away desperately every few hours for a smoke, it was easier to make myself kick the habit.

Before I go any further, let me elucidate: I'm not talking about cigarettes. I don't like the smell of tobacco and never have. I'm talking of joints. I was never a heavy weed smoker, but I liked my smoke. Time was when I had to have it daily so I brought myself down to the occasional binge.

V was also a fairly regular smoker. (A little known fact about our pre-dating days is that the man gave me my first cigarette. Which I appreciated at the time since I had just climbed off a Ferris wheel and the smoke helped me stop the world from bucking wildly.) Where we clashed was that I disliked tobacco and hated the smell -- and he disapproved of grass and hated the smell. Clearly, we were not about to form one of those cosy husband-wife smoking parties.

I offered to quit if he would. He agreed and we both did. I stayed off for about 13 months and I think he staggered through a few weeks. Which incidentally only underscores what I have always said about ganja being an easier habit. Easier on the body. And believe it or not, easier to kick.

I went off the wagon spectacularly last year in a fit of wild depression but climbed right back when that living-with-the-in-laws bit kicked in.

All of that was basically the background to what I really wanted to say, which now follows. (Those already bored at this point will not be allowed to comment. I'm psychic and I will know!)

See, both V and I smoke when stressed out. Now the kid's an added reason never to give in to the temptation -- but that doesn't make it easier for me. Yesterday Kanti rolled one and I wanted to, you cannot imagine how badly, take just one tiny little whiff. I don't think one miniscule bit of smoke will damage the kid either. But then, who wants to take the risk. But I really want to stress on the fact that you smokers cannot tell me I don't know what it's like.

Yet, knowing what it's like, I will still request that:

1) you don't smoke when you are in a public conveyance. I'm not farting in your face, am I?

2) you be careful of where you ash. It's not just about finicky hostesses, but also about damaging objects that are precious to somebody else. Like, their hair or their clothes. Or an heirloom carpet. Or a favourite book.

3) ask before you light up in somebody's house. If they don't want you to smoke most people are usually considerate enough to let you do so on the balcony.

4) accept the "No" an ex-smoking friend says. He might not be finding it so easy to stay off the smokes but he must have a reason to make the effort, so why make it harder for him?

5) not smoke in essentially family places like restaurants which encourage children (say burger joints), amusement arcades etc. because these places are simply filled with kids who really could do without the smoke you are adding to the already polluted atmosphere. It's no coincidence that asthma is on the rise in the metros. Have you ever seen a 5 yr-old blue in the face, unable to breathe? I have, and you don't want to.

6) do not take your children/guests with breathing problems to cafes which you know are free smoking areas. As a parent/host it's your duty to show that consideration. Also, as a fellow citizen, you should not object to a smoker lighting up in a designated place.

Well, that's my Goody Two-Shoes act for today. V probably has a lot to say, but I guess he'll continue to do the lurking thing.

On a lighter note, here is something I wrote about weed some time ago.

On an even lighter note, it's funny how the entire cast of Goa -- who are mainly smokers -- gets frantic if I come anywhere near them while they are smoking. I've even been bodily pushed away just so that the kid they are all looking forward to is not harmed. My friends are funnee.

14 comments:

Supercyst Lady said...

its good to hear a great news that somebody stopped smoking.I ve got dust and smoke allergic which cause sinus problem for me. the liquid already came in to my brain and everyday i just wishing that people around me could empathy how hard living in pollution enviroment.G luck.

Sue said...

Supercyst - Sorry to hear about your problem. It must really make it tough to move around.

The Comic Project said...

One of the best reasons to quit smoking that I have heard of :-) But weed isn't as bad as nicotine, in the sense that you can still call it "recreational smoking" but can't do so with the tobacco thingy. And the 6 to-dos are great. I have been guilty of 2 and 3.

indianpeppone said...

I respect smokers as i realize that they have very less time left in this world.
A joint is another matter altogether...... missing my last vacation in Goa....

ichatteralot said...

Now I have always wanted to combine coccaine with Pink Floyd - its supposed to the ultimate ecstacy! Guess its kinda late now...

Sue said...

TCP - Yes, it was really strong motivation.

Peppone - You'll notice I'm not anti-smoking per se (that includes tobacco). Just asking folks to be careful.

Chatty - (may I please shorten thus?) Why on earth is it too late?

Rimi said...

Do you know Inam? Kanti and Momo's classmate in JUDE, adores Parnab Mukherjee, but quite nice with it all? He was struck speechless (quite literally) when I told him I hadn't even TRIED grass in all my (near) three years of JUDE.

But I shall in the next two weeks. One last thing left to do before I graduate. And people won't believe me anyway if I said I graduated from JUDE without ever trying it, will they?

WishfulThinker said...

I totally agree with you on the joint habit being easire to kick than tobacco. A 110%. :D And your to-do list matches mine! But it is most irritating when you're sitting in a crowded pub, where everyones smoking and some chick/dick at the next table asks you to kindly not smoke. I mean like WTF! Get your asthmatic/aesthetic proboscis outta here! Now!

Sue said...

Rimi - Have heard of him but never met him. Go ahead and try it but remember the first smoke hardly ever hits you -- and you honestly need to inhale before anything happens.

Wishful - I know, it's bugging. Those ppl who have a problem oughtn't go to places where they know there will be smoking. And no, that isn't discrimination. Pubs etc. are mainly designed for the smoking public.

Rohini said...

I tried hard to kick the habit but managed to get the will power to do it once and for all once I got pregnant. And so have been more-or-less smoke-free (excuse occassional drags from friends during drinking sessions) for over 18 months now - yay!

Now I am so paranoid about anyone smoking near my son that I don't allow smoking in my house and walk away from anyone smoking in a public space when he is with me.

Sue said...

Rohini - I can relate to all that, unfortuntaely. Must learn to eventually loosen up, because my child comes from a long line of smokers. Come to think of it, on my side too.

Primalsoup said...

Nice! Though I have hardly known of any people who gave up tobacco. Good list that, if only everyone remembered it.

Anonymous said...

yeah right... atleast something made you kick the habit... that kid is perhaps the best thing to have happened to you...

Sue said...

Primalsoup - I started this mail as a gag, but as you can see from the exchanges between Rohini and me, impending motherhood is making me take these things more seriously.

Anon - Yeah right to what? And sure I can kick the habit, I've stayed off it over a year at a time, more than once. But for other reasons too, the kid seems to be a good influence -- and it ain't even born!