I’ve come across this question quite a few times, and frankly, the reason is, its purely out of choice. In return, I always come up with, “Why do you smoke ?” And generally, nobody has a clue, as they give me a puzzled, all confident smile.
The reason I’m jumping my ass into this ever controversial tobacco battle tonight is something I witnessed about an hour back. I was inside this grocery store, buying some random stuff, and amongst the small crowd, there was this really cute little girl not more than 6 or 7, buying herself an ice cream. Seemingly her parents had sent her to the shop, just outside the apartments’ gates, to pick her favorite ice cream. I was looking through the rack for the stuff I had come for, while noticing how cute the entire thing seemed as she kept contemplating between the flavors. Just as she finally decided on the dessert she wanted, she went to the counter, and muttered, ” I want this ice cream, and 2 cigarettes “. I was aghast, shocked with complete disbelief. What did this little ice cream girl have to do with cigarettes? The shopkeeper, almost matter-of -factly, handed her the 2 smokes, and she happily exited out. Just as she was leaving, I asked her, almost calling out, “Aapko cigarette kyu chahiye ?” (Why do you want these cigarettes? ), and in unison with the shopkeeper, she replied, her dad wanted them ! It was just plain, disgusting parenting, and I didn’t know what this kids parents were upto.
But, what happened tonight is obviously not the reason I don’t take to smoking, the reason I don’t is that I have a choice. I have the choice to avoid one of the ways to fall to something as fatal as cancer; I have a choice to keep my lungs clean, be able to maintain good stamina, to keep healthy, and to not slowly, voluntarily kill myself. I have seen and read about innocent people, little kids who’ve had to face life-threatening, and often fatal diseases, for no real faults of their own. Kids, who were born to HIV; people who faced cancer just out of sheer bad luck, whose bodies were messed up from the inside, and they didn’t have a clue about where it came from. I know, just as much as anyone that I could face it tomorrow. But I have this choice today, right now, in this moment, to make it less probable. I have a choice to a healthy life, and I know I’m not the cleanest one around, nor for a moment am I implying, that I don’t have habits that I don’t regret, but this is something, that never caught up to me, and so I plan to keep it that way.
As for that little girl, I really can’t come up with words to express how pathetic I feel about her parents. Your parents are the ones you look up to, especially, more so as kids. They are your role models, the ones you brag about, the ones you protect, the ones you defend, the one who defend you, but parents like hers, are shameless, and to say the least, not worthy for any child to look up to. I am just a young guy myself, but that right there, is something I would never be proud of, as and whenever I become a parent. And, to think that her father send her out at 10 in the night, to buy cigarettes, with the lure of an ice cream, just disgusts me to the core. Think about it, I don’t imply you were to ever do this, but unless you were to quit, you’d never know when it drove you to this !