Sunday, October 30, 2011

The World is His Ashtray

I believe that a drunkard’s devotion to his deity, to whom he surrenders everything including his senses is unparalleled. Of late I have noticed the same passion burning also in the hearts of the people who smoke.

In a family of non-smokers I never had /have an opportunity to observe them closely. Now more awareness against it, i.e., banned in restaurants etc the chances are bleak. People visiting you also go outside to smoke. Now we don’t even see a Jackie Shroff, i.e. a good guy smoking in the movies.

As a kid I have seen people smoking casually, sitting and chatting in our drawing-room. Now only I realize that we always had an ashtray in our house. When, the one made of some light metal, a bowl with a lid and a big hole on the top looked weird, was replaced by a lovely glass ashtray. It had spaces left on its edges to put the cigarette if the visitor wished to sip tea in between. The ashtray was cleaned regularly and put on the central-table and used as a paper-weight also. Right now I realize that in these two decades neither I had an ashtray in my house nor I saw a lovely one on the shelves of a gift/china shop.

Smokers, like drunkards are also devoted souls. A worst victim of motion sickness, I only detested them in a bus or a train, when with the first breath of that smell I would puke. Otherwise who doesn’t like Vinod Mehra blowing smoke on Rekha’s face in the movie  GHAR while she sings lyrics penned by Gulzar.

Coming back to ‘burning passion’, in my locality, I get to cross paths with many beginners and stalwarts of smokers’ club, though just for the fraction of a second. One doesn’t have to stand and stare but just a glance is enough to see the deep satisfaction which seems “exquisite and leaves them unsatisfied”. From holding it to blowing smoke out of their mouth, each step looks a ritual .They seem to pronounce that if it is a slow death then let it approach me while I enjoy several such lives.

The latest argument I heard in the defense of smoking is that more non-smokers die of smoking related diseases. Husbands console their wives saying Net pe check kar lo.  (Check the data on the Net).

Humming the song I faintly remember, Bhupinder singh singing in Chitrhaar, Cigrate ka dhuaan jata hai kahaan? Ye kahi jata nahin (where does the smoke from the cigarette go, etc), I sincerely wish for a few smokers I know a healthy and long life.


Ashish Gupta said...

The mention of ashtray and the reflection about people choosing slow death reminded me of a dark and sad song:

I also know many smokers around and have seen first hand how their stamina goes down slowly. May be in a few years I'll have to see their health going down. I know I'd hate it and I really wish a "healthy and long life" for them.

vandy said...

Thanks for the visit and comment Ashish.I miss old blogging days:(

Actually I know some really healthy smokers who smoked not exactly like a chimney but moderately and now enjoying their old age.But everyone is not that fortunate.

Daniel said...

I'm 20; I don't smoke and I don't drink, and I have yet to come across many others like me at my age. It's sad

Ashish Gupta said...

It just reminded me of a regular ashtray, made of light metal, we had at home when I was a kid. Very small kid. We don't have it anymore but I remember well that we had it on the central table in the living room for years :-)

Same story here: coming from a family of non-smokers I haven't seen closely the hows and whys of smokers.

vandy said...

ya light metal ashtray :-)most of the houses had that only.Those were the simpler times.PPl used to hv similar steel tea cups:-)and many such things.

Like elders at home u also don't smoke...that's ma boy :)

Rohit Ghosh said...

You come from a family of non-smokers but still you have beautifully captured the nuances of smoking.

vandy said...

what an observation :-)

And here I was wondering abt the addiction of alcohol
and how is it similar to my craving for 'chai'...again from a family of complete teetotalers. :-)

Manish said...

A girl I once knew told me that she likes the look of the guys smoking a cigarette. That gives an idea from where the first inspiration comes from.

But the first inhale changes the whole story. This whole brigand of liberals argue we should not do any policing because that is an individual's choice, which is a highly flawed argument.

The choice is for the first inhale and after that, the unfortunate person becomes the slave of nicotine for his/her entire life time. It becomes a compulsion.

And that is where there is a difference between a smoker and drunkard. A smoker is a victim, while drunkard make other victims for his/her pleasure.

Former has all my sympathies, but latter has none.

BTW, do you know government of India has 25% stake in ITC, the largest cigarette makers in India. No other promoter of ITC has more stake than this. India Shining.

Manish said...

I just loved your post, and this is not the only one :-)

vandy said...

Abt Girls liking boys who smoke..remember Deepti Naval's take in Chasm-e-badoor.:-)

Manish, Only a few smokers and ppl who drink I know,are healthy and highly successful in their fields.
They definitely are not chain smokers.Everything done moderately is fine.

Thanks for zarranawazi.serendipity34 owes its existence to the appreciating words by you all(though others hv shifted to fb and twitter)

Manish said...

Moderate alcohol might be fine, Vandana but each breath of smoke is taking some of the grandchildren time from people's life.

vandy said...

how true,Manish.

Anonymous said...

Nice read Vandana.Please write more often.

vandy said...

@ Anon: Sure :)