It was 45 days ago that I took my last puff.
That was also the last day I went to my office, my smoking zone.
Since then, I have been locked up inside my house, with my non-smoker father, a suspecting mother and a tattle-tale younger brother healing a broken heart.
All in all, I was in a hopeless situation with no hope of a ‘release’ in sight.
The first 4 days were the hardest. The urge to smoke was building up each passing moment.
Making it tougher was the fact that being a ‘Sanskari-beta’ (i.e. cultured-son), I could not share my agony with anyone.
But even if I could somehow escape the confines of my house and it’s ever-watchful occupants, there were three bigger difficulties.
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First was to arrange the stick. It was not easy as almost all shops were shut.
Second difficulty was about finding a spot secluded enough to enjoy it in peace. (That’s the only similarity between a lion and me. We both like to have our food and smoke in peace.)
Third was to actually reach that spot without having my back bruised with police lathis (sticks), who for once seemed omnipresent. (Do you know that the most successful butt-filling programme in the world is run by Indian police? And it just takes 3-4 full bloodied sticks on your backside.)
Incidentally, these are the same logistic issues most Indian Romeos (lover-boy) looking for some private moments with their Laila (lover-girl) face.
Being good at Maths, I soon realised that the probability of me finding a Cigarette, then finding a secluded spot and actually reaching there, and doing all this without having my ass fractured was very little.
So I could not gather the strength to leave my house.
And my suffering continued.
But I finally understood one thing …..
What every parent needs to do to make their children study?
It is to send them to jail.
Because jailed people are so hopelessly alone that they will do ANYTHING, just to pass their time.
And same thing happened with me.
(One another reason for shifting to blogs was the ever increasing data cost, which is a common feature in homes with bachelors-without-work.)
One day, on 24 March 2020 to be precise, while trying to spend the afternoon reading some random blogs, something caught hold of my attention.
It was this news…
It was not like I was earlier not aware of the harms of smoking.
But something happened then and there.
I finally decided to quit smoking.
But if it was that easy, Mark Twain would not have said this –
For the next 8 days, I went to the home of my Girl Friend (who incidentally lives close-by) several times a day hoping to steal one of her dad’s cigarette and finally getting the “release” my body so earnestly needed.
(I was perhaps world’s only boyfriend who sneaked to his Girlfriend’s house, hoping to get a release of THIS KIND.)
At that time, If someone had told me to scale Mount Everest for a Cigarette, I would certainly have given it a thought.
It’s another matter that I am a 100 Kg dud who has broken his leg twice while climbing stairs of his third floor house.
Then came that eventful day, I would never be able to forget.
Ever since waking up that day I was having a terrible headache.
Outside my home was a municipality van spraying disinfectant inside my colony. And it’s noise was filling up the otherwise serene neighbourhood.
I don’t know what happened to me. I waited for him to be alone, then went to him and asked if he smoked. The amused look he gave suggested that he knew what I was there for. I too knew the answer.
He simple answered, “10 bucks”. I gave it to him and in return he gave me a beedi (tobacco filled tendu leaves).
As soon as I hold it in my hands, my heart started throbbing violently. It was at that time I sensed what heart attack might feel like.
My resolution mattered little to me then. There was only one thing that I wanted. And I wanted it more than anything else in this world.
It was “To inhale every bit of that beedi”.
That beedi was suddenly my life’s ambition.
It is at moments like this that a man gets to know his primeval instincts, lying dormant inside him for so long that glamorous notions of respect, self-esteem etc. starts fancying his imagination.
But at the most basic, man remains that same animal, ever hungry to satisfy the basic urges of his life.
I was also not myself that moment.
But there was one more problem. And my mind was working frantically on it.
It was to look for a close-by place to smoke.
Only one place came into my mind.
My Girlfriend’s house.
After creeping into her room, I arranged a matchbox, told her to bring cardamom (as temporary mouth-freshner), tightly shut the room door and was just thinking of lighting the stick when my mother’s call came, inquiring about me.
I went into a panic mode thinking she has found out about me arranging that beedi.
Putting all present plans into temporary suspension, I rushed to my house. And was relieved to find that it was nothing much. She just wanted me to do my breakfast, while it was still fresh.
It was that day, and it’s today.
More than 25 days have passed.
And I have not smoked yet.
That beedi is still lying somewhere in my room, completely forgotten like other useless stuffs in it.
I am on my way to de-addiction.
And I feel super happy & confident about it.
You must be anxious to know what happened.
So, here it is.
After my breakfast that day, I felt my smoking urge suddenly waning. I was also kind of happy that my resolution was still intact.
This gave me an idea.
And that was….
To try to overcome my impulse by delaying action on it.
And this is what I have been doing since then.
Whenever the thought of smoking crosses my mind, I tell it to wait a bit. 10 minutes, 20 minutes, anything.
And amazingly when that time comes, I do not remain in the mood.
Luckily, it has turned out to be super successful.
Not only have I not smoked these many days, but also I am in control of my impulse.
I know what to do, if this urge to smoke appears ever again.
And that is, delay action on it.
Yes, I will feel a bit restless that time. But this would be better than discomfort of that guilt feeling which comes when your behavior doesn’t fit your own standards of right and wrong.
I know I will get rid of this addiction now.
And I have been doing just this each passing day.
Since past few days, I have stopped seeing world in black and white.
This realization has dawned upon me that there exists some goodness behind every-thing howsoever evil it may look like in the beginning.
Coronavirus is no different.
For chain-smokers like me, this Coronavirus lockdown has proved to be a lifesaver by giving us a chance to get rid of addictions like these.
Atleast It has helped me do so, to a large extent.
And perhaps saved my life.
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