Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Doc : See K, these results aren’t good.

Me : I guessed as much

Doc : See you’re a strapping young man of 27, you shouldn’t be having all these signs.

Me : Doc, I’m hardly strapping, I’m big.

Doc : Dakho, you will need to take care of yourself young man.

Me : OK Doc

Doc : So I would suggest you go easy for a while, and maybe cut something’s out of your diet

Me : Sigh

Doc : Red Meat

Me : Check

Doc : You should cut out sweets from your life also

Me : Sigh (Telling a Bengali man this is akin to asking him to cut off his left ball, coming from a Bengali man made the thing even worse. Note to self, try to avoid Bong doctors)

Doc : Beer

Me : Sigh, Check

Doc : You can drink a whiskey once in a while, but only with soda

Me : OK, I guess (Given that ‘once in a while wasn’t clearly defined I can live with that).

Doc : Tumi ki cigarette khayo? [Trans : Do you smoke]

Me : Haan, kintu aaj kal beshi khaye na, mane din-e teente charte hoye jaye [Trans : Yes, but not that much nowadays, I smoke around three-four a day]

Doc : Chere dayo! [Leave it]

Me : What?????

Now, I thought quitting smoking would be easier than it is. It has been a week since I officially tried to quit smoking for the first time in my life, and everything is going haywire, so I’ve decided that I’ll first cut back to one cigarette a day.

It is just easier to manage. I managed to go three days without smoking a cigarette, so what if I smoked two joints in the interim, I needed to and I was only told to stop smoking cigarettes, not the herb. My jaws hurt from chewing gum, the lack of nicotine, and more particularly the small quantities of dopamine in my system is playing havoc with my life. This quitting business is tough!

One cigarette a day for now, and then I’ll quit after some time, I mean I know it’s a bad habit and all. See, what did that TV advert say, every cigarette that you smoke cuts 5 minutes from your life. So the 10,000 odd cancer sticks I must’ve smoked in my life have taken 50,000 minutes off my life. Which means that instead of living to the grand old age of 80, I’ll live to be 79 years 10 months and 25 days old. What a pity!

However, what is true is that smoking too much can affect your sperm count, or so the scientific journals say. Despite a rather hairy incident back in Class 12, I haven’t to the best of my knowledge gotten any girl pregnant, so the world is thankfully still spared of K-spawn.

Now, when I was trying this entire quitting business, I decided that the best thing that could come out of quitting would be the fact that I would save immense amounts of money. I smoke Classic Milds, which cost Rs 65 a packet, despite smoking less nowadays, I end up going through a pack of 20’s in about three days on average, no smoking would mean I save Rs 650 a month, or Rs 7800 a year. That is not chickenfeed by any stretch of imagination.

But, as I have said before despite the health and financial incentives, quitting is difficult. I’ve been smoking since an unprintable age (thanks to the large number of unclaimed cigarette cartons at my dad’s place I had an unlimited stock of Benson’s and 555’s). I was the evil mofo who got quite a few boys in school to take their first puffs, one major reason I liked going to (and winning) quizzes and debates in college (in the days before the current Nazi-esque administration started expelling students for smoking) was because they could fund this habit (and the booze) and I would not feel guilty about spending my parents money on smoking.

But then again my parents smoked, so even when my dad told me off for smoking once when I was 17, I could look him back in the face and call him a hypocrite. I mean, how can a man who smoked 40-plus cigarettes a day tell someone off for smoking? (It is almost as ironic as the fact that O&M India’s Creative guru is a chain smoker but came up with a brilliant anti-smoking advert which won an award an Cannes)

Anyway, this isn’t a diatribe against smoking, but rather the frustrating feeling one gets when one tries to quit. It requires an insane amount of will and determination, and I don’t have that in spades right now. But, I will ‘leave’ smoking for a bit, I mean I guess I will still smoke occasionally but leave the stick on a daily basis, its for my good I know that.

And one doesn’t need to smoke like a freaking chimney anymore to advertise one’s credo as a journo, even though the second-hand smoke at Turquoise Cottage during media nights (every Wednesday night, when journalists and ad-sales people from the media world meet, fight and pay for booze they never consumed) could probably kill you, and lets not get into the dungy, depressing environs of the Delhi Press Club (the Bombay Press Club is eons ahead – it is actually welcoming). But then again, as journalism has moved into its PYT phase, one doubts that some ‘journalists’ even have the IQ required to smoke.

Sorry for the rant! I’m feeling a bit edgy of late.


Anonymous said...

put your nose to the wheel and send me that PC asap. What do you think this is, the office or your friendly neighbourhood version of Kinko's?

Bonatellis said...

ahhh, you reminded me of the time when I first landed in Mumbai. within days I decided to quit smoking, for the city seemed so so goddamned expensive to the poor journalist I was then ...

strangely, it's no longer macho for a guy to smoke but it's so fashionable these days for a girl to be seen smoking in public :)

hornygurrl said...

that is so chauvinistic
no better than the guy on the road who gapes at a woman who's smoking "dekh dekh ladki cigarette pi rahi hai"

hornygurrl said...

also why the "women who smoke"
do we make a big deal when the men smoke? nope
its like saying four people including a woman accused of murder


thalassa_mikra said...

My sympathies. I'm having my own issues with regulating my diet and maintaining an exercise regimen.

But don't think that you don't have the will, everyone has it and you only have to believe strongly enough that it's possible to quit, and read up on lung cancer every now and then.

And there's absolutely nothing cool or intellectually stimulating about smoking.

4WD said...

dude, if you want to quit, you gotta let of it once and for all. Totally. No one a day business. Be a man about it. I've been addicted too.... that's how i quit... stop totally. Except I was addicted to playing Suprer Mario in the video game parlour down the road from my house, not cigarettes

VG said...

Just quit. Cold Turkey. Slowing down business does not work. U'll realize that in no time u are back to the 3-4 cigarettes a day. I tried slowing down for about a year. Never worked. Just quit one day and have been smoke free for almost 3 yrs now. Good luck.

Hiren said...

Yesterday, there was a report in the times of India how the youth were falling prey to heart attacks at a very young age because of lifetstyle problems. The youth do not know what kind of peoblems they can face during mid-life and later when health becomes precious. If such realization dawns, only then things like quitting smoking becomes easier.

Anonymous said...

chicken..bet you cant do it

Sutta na mila said...

The post reminds me of Sutta na mila Heard the song yet?

Bengali Guy said...

Don't quit smoking. I own shares in ITC. And that reminds me - can you do a story on ITC ? I mean its practically the only biggie that hasn't abandoned Bengal and yet seems to mint money year after year.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post...
Brilliant comments too.

Kush, it's a pleasure reading your column... and the associated comments. I should rate this particular column, and especially the comments this time, as amongst the best I've ever read. The ITC one takes the cake. The one about Super Mario is too cool. (Even the one about "chicken..." seen in the right context).

Guys, like I said, it's a pleasure... You guys are perhaps the best in English writing India has to offer...perhaps the best in the world. (No, I'm not drunk:-)


K said...


smoke said...

in the days before the current Nazi-esque administration started expelling students for smoking

Nobody was ever expelled for smoking or even smoking up!