March 17, 2006

The First Puff

He never liked weddings, not even the idea of them. So like always he just broke up from the crowds and went out for a walk that day. It was a pretty evening, not too hot not too cold, not too sunny, not too wet, just hovering on the boundaries of perfection. Just the kind of day one could get married, though it would spoil the beauty of the evening, but you could still somehow do it.

He walked across the street, around the turn, then into some other street and then some other, lost in his own thoughts, and then he suddenly noticed something. No, he didn't get lost, the wedding hall was too brightly lit up to be missed from the space, he must have been just a kilometer away. What he saw was a 'panwari'. If you don't know what that means, just use your imagination. So there was the panwari right in front of him, everybody who could catch him was far far away, and on that beautiful day he realized that he could smoke his first cigarette.

So he walked up casually to the bihari, who was like the rest of them, just sitting there, chewing a paan. He just wanted it to go casually, without raising suspicions that this was his first time, not that he would turn him over to the police or something, just that it isn't fun to be an amateur.

While walking he tried to think what brand of cigarette would he say he wanted, because it seemed that all smokers has a very strong sense of taste, it should be smell probably, or something in between, definitely not taste. He remembered Wills Navy Cut, he had been sent to buy a pack for somebody the other day. So he decided to get one Navy Cut and walked up straight to the bihari.

He asked him for Navy cut and he gave me one. He paid him two rupees in change, and asked for the match. He had learned in school, that if it is your first time don't act stupid by trying to just burn a cigarette in your hand. So he stuck it in my mouth. It felt great just holding it like that, and then he lit it. The only thing worrying him was that if he start coughing, that would surely raise suspicions. But it was like the grace of God, they were meant for each other. He pulled the first puff and then he blew it out. And suddenly he knew what a kick was.

Those were the beginnings, he had one more two weeks later, and then one week, and then a packet a week, and then two or three a day. Tenderthroats. Now he takes a break from smoking to come up to his desk to blog down a few lines. The urge just grows and grows. It was just too bad that he never found a reason strong enough to quit. His throat never got so choked that he couldn't inhale anymore, and even his girlfriend never asked him to quit. So he still smokes, for like one man said, we all smoke because we want to die as much as we want to live.