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ravi s

Drama


5.0  

ravi s

Drama


Death Addiction

Death Addiction

4 mins 326 4 mins 326

We are all aware of the evils of addiction. The statutory warning on cigarette boxes cries out aloud that tobacco causes cancer. Yet, millions across the globe are addicted to smoking. I will share with you a very strange story today. 


Dada was my colleague and a good friend, even though he was much elder to me. We worked together for a few years before we parted our own ways. One day he saw me chewing gutka and admonished me. I told him that though it was a bad habit, doesn’t one need some kind of addiction in life? He then told me his story of how he started smoking and how he quit it.


As a boy in the final years of school study, he was considered a potential ranker. More than him, his mother desired that he should top the ranking list and for this, he needed to study hard. His mother loved him very much, being her only child. She would give him everything he needed to excel in the exams. She would tell her husband that he should not invite friends or listen to the radio when their son was studying. She would make the finest Bengali cuisine for her son and feed him with great love and affection.


Even after taking so much care for her son, she was worried that she was not doing much for the boy. The boy needed to concentrate on studies, and she would think of ways his concentration could be enhanced. Dada’s father was a smoker and would often tell his wife that smoking increased his focus and concentration in his work. The quality of his work was excellent because he smoked.


Though you will agree that this is not true and is an excuse used by all addicts to get away from criticism, Dada’s mother found logic in this reasoning. She began pinching a cigarette from her husband’s pocket and gave it to her son, telling him that smoking was good for concentration. Dada, being an obedient son, started smoking the cigarettes that his mother lovingly gave him. Soon, he found that smoking helped and began asking for more. His mother, afraid that her husband would catch her at stealing, started buying packs of cigarettes for her son.


Whether he topped the ranking list or not is not material to the story. Dada became so addicted that he would chain-smoke. 


Dada was working and living in Delhi in 1984 when Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own security guards. The city burned for days with mobs looting and killing at will. Dada then lived in Kalkaji in the EPDP colony (East Pakistan Displaced Persons). Curfew had been declared and Delhi was locked down, and Dada had run out of cigarettes.

He thought that he could handle this emergency at least until the curfew was lifted, but he was wrong. His addiction had grown so strong that it had overpowered his will and senses. As hours passed without a smoke, Dada’s desperation began to build, till finally, he could no more stand the misery.


All the shops were closed, so there was no way he could buy cigarettes. But his addiction was commanding him to go out and try. There were riots happening and the streets of Delhi were not safe. Yet, driven by addiction, Dada took out his car began his quest for cigarettes. The search went on for hours without success. He had covered half of Delhi in his quest for smoke and his desperation was now reaching alarming levels. He was having panic attacks and felt he would die if he did not smoke soon.


Just as his search was proving to be futile, he spotted a shop, half shuttered. He rushed to see if anyone was inside. To his relief, the shop was open as the shopkeeper needed to take some stuff home. Dada looked around, saw the rows of cigarette boxes, and thanked God for his abundant mercy. His life was saved. He quickly bought two cartons of cigarettes, vowing never again to put himself in such a dire situation.


Dada stood on the street and tore open a pack. He pulled out a cigarette, lit it up and took a long and grateful puff. Even as the smoke was winding its way down his throat, he paused.

What has happened to you, Bhattacharya? Do you realize that you are no more a healthy human being? Smoking has turned you into an impotent idiot. Look how you have been running around the city like a fugitive on the run. For what? A cigarette? Is this all that you live for? A smoke? Do you not have anything else in life to live or die for? Shame on you Bhattacharya, you have succeeded in transforming yourself from man to animal. Your mother would be so proud of you!


Dada wondered where these thoughts came from. Wherever they came from, they made sense. Have I really lost control over myself, he thought. He looked at the smouldering cigarette between his fingers, thought for a while and then threw it away in disgust. He pulled out the carton from his car and flung it with violence.


Since that day, Dada has never taken even one single puff.



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