Smoking Thrills Yet Kills
Smoking Thrills Yet Kills
Raman was the final year degree student of RK engineering college in Rourkela, an industrial city of Odisha. He was not only an excellent student but a fine athlete and a good orator. During his school days, he represented his state in athletics in the National Junior Athletic competition and won three separate gold medals in three sprint events. In his college days before joining the engineering college, he won the best orator's award in the state level competition held in Bhubaneswar. He was 6' 2" tall, broad-shouldered, and fairly handsome also. In the engineering college also he didn't disrepute his earlier credentials and went on to win several medals in the Inter-University Championship in Athletics. Most girls were his avid fans and several proposed even. As a student also he did fairly well all through his career and his parents and relatives were really proud of his achievements. His parents Suman and Suresh, both teachers stay in a remote village in the district of Mayurbhanj. Raman was happy with his life and aspiring to join a public sector company as a mechanical engineer in the coming few months after passing out the final semester examination. So far he has performed very well and expected to pass with a first-class degree with honors.
Everything in Raman's life changed drastically after he came across a man on a rainy day. Amreen Patel was a rich man who led a lavish life and spent extravagantly of his huge parental property in the city of Kolkata. His forefathers were the zamindars of a large estate during the British regime in India. Though his father had sold away a major portion of the properties in different parts of the state of West Bengal and in erstwhile East Pakistan or present-day Bangladesh, yet there were plenty of agricultural lands, orchards, and buildings in different parts of the state of West Bengal. His ancestors came from Gujarat 3 centuries before to settle down in the eastern part of India when the Britishers established their trade centers in the city of Calcutta. Armeen often tells the stories of the past that he had heard from his grandfather and from his father as well, how, many British officers used to come to their estates to enjoy the hospitality of his family. But in independent India, he and his family have an enviable reputation and Amreen is extremely proud of that.
One stormy evening, when Raman was waiting in a deserted bus stop near the Salt Lake Hence I can Ko ldescribe fime tas ea Amr en. It wrich aman.ng The s and dogs and no buses were plying in that part of the city. After waiting for more than two hours Raman became quite impatient to get some kind of conveyance which would take him to the hostel for youth & sports in Jadavpur university campus. To his good luck, Amreen was returning to his Jadavpur residence by the same route in his own car. In the heavy rain to spot a man was very difficult but it was the shrewd brain and good eyesight that Amreen saw a man standing under the shed of a bus stop. His car came to a screeching stop just beside the bus stop and by gestures, he invited Raman to get inside the car. Raman almost drenched with the lashing rain was initially hesitant but then decided to get in. However, he was absolutely unaware that he was not entering inside a car but to a different world where life gets a complete transformation by the force of unaccountable money.
Once inside the vehicle Raman tried to dry himself with a towel Amreen provided him with. But what could he do with that wet tracksuit he was wearing? Amreen asked him to remove all those wet clothes and put on another big towel that he carried every time in his car. Again reluctantly Raman undressed in the rear seat and changed into that large towel. Now Raman felt much better and the shivering he earlier had was almost gone. But then Amreen offered him a cigarette and Raman with a bit of hesitation and in desperation accepted the offer. Amreen lit the cigarette for Raman. He had a continuous bout of coughing after inhaling the first smoke of the tobacco. After some time the coughing subsided as he became a little more acclimatized with the smoke. And he went ahead, puffing in every bit of smoke the cigarette produced. He felt much better as the cold and shivering were almost gone. For the first time in two and a half hours, he felt a rather calm and soothing feeling inside him. Till that moment, Amreen chose not to interfere with Raman's activities other than offering him the towel and the cigarette and concentrated on driving because the roads were slippery and the fiberglass windshield of the car's front was getting fogged regularly due to the incessant downpour. Once, Raman was relaxed and happy Amreen started to talk.
Amreen asked him what was his name and why he was there waiting beneath that lonely bus stop. Raman said, " I am Raman Singh from Odisha. I am in my final year of mechanical engineering. I had come to Kolkata two days before to take part in the training camp for the National Athletic Championship to be held in the month of September in Goa. I will be staying here in the Jadavpur hostel for youth & sports for a week before going back to my college in Rourkela. I was waiting for a bus to go to Jadavpur for more than two hours when almost no vehicle came and when one or two came that way didn't stop. Finally, you came to my rescue. Many many thanks to you for help." Amreen again didn't intervene and let Raman talk. When Raman concluded he started talking, I am Amreen Patel, a businessman from Jadavpur. Luckily I also have the same destination as you. In fact, I have enough money left in my bank accounts by my forefathers that I have the liberty of spending my time without any real worries. I am 36 and unmarried. I have 3 houses in different parts of the city. However, I like to spend most of my days in my Jadavpur residence because this is where my grandparents liked to live. They loved me the most and their memories often bring me there.l am a regular and like to enjoy my most memorable times with a bottle of scotch and a pack of cigarettes. Many girls have entered my life and left in the same inauspicious manner as they had come in. Hence you can describe me as a spoiled rich man."
The initial introduction of both men was nothing of a common taste yet they became good friends since that evening of a rainy day. Amreen regularly invited Raman to parties and hotels and both spent time with wine, women, and cigarettes. Raman knew it perfectly well that it was well beyond his means to afford all those luxuries but Amreen kept him encouraging with timely financial help. Raman was definitely not willing to be indebted to someone for such freak reasons but the addiction of cigarettes and alcoholic drinks forced him to compromise on every occasion when he thought of discontinuing this practice. Amreen always consoled him that good times would come in his life and he would be able to pay back each dime to him. He would say, " never worry my friend. God has given me plenty. And I know the way my forefathers had accumulated these properties. So if some part of this is spent on entertaining a few friends why should I hesitate? By the way, I consider you to be my younger brother than a friend. So enjoy yourself and give me your company. Once you pass.out we shall jointly start a factory or a business and you can dream of a better future."
Raman became a trap in his own wrong judgments. He forgot his priorities and ran after the false dreams. For the first time in his career, he failed in two subjects in his final semester exams. Later, to rub salt into wounds he failed to qualify to take part in the finals of the National Athletic Championship despite having a fair chance earlier of winning a gold in the 100-meter sprint event. The series of failures kept on repeating but Raman was in a state of no return. He kept on falling deeper into the abyss, each time he came in contact with Amreen. He was now a regular smoker and in spite of a determined effort to give up the bad habit could not be successful. He was further dragged into more and more borrowing from Amreen and kept on maintaining the same lifestyle. He lost his good health and slowly regular respiratory tract diseases became a regular companion as was Amreen.
One day, while coming down the stairs in a hotel he fell down and rolled down at least twelve stairs before coming to a stop. Amreen was accompanying him who took him to a nearby hospital. He was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis in which almost 70% of his lungs had already been damaged. The doctors advised him to quit smoking with immediate effect if he wanted to survive. The senior-most doctor went on to say that taking into consideration the amount of damage already done, chances of recovery were very low. So, he would have to put all the force on his luck to get a respite. Raman understood each word of the old doctor. But it was too late. Amreen also cried like a baby hearing this but the wrong had already been done. He blamed himself for all these troubles his friend was facing but he had no control on either the disease or Raman's luck. And Raman's fate lines had run very near their end.