I always had the inclination to smoke. When in school in Kolkatta, there was this sweet cigarette. It came in a red box. It was actually a candy, red-colored at one end symbolizing a burning cigarette. I chain-ate it with style. The pattern became so repetitive that father banned it. I think, later the Government banned it too.
Addictions will find options. I took to cannibalizing our cotton-wool stuffed mattress. A little amount of wool rolled with paper served the purpose. This time there was real smoke. I never inhaled the smoke or suffered those rasping coughs. You see, I was trained on that candy-fag Simulator.
The flip side was, I couldn’t smoke openly. The fear of some rascal reporting this to my parents was immense. Besides, this was my “Other Life”, meant for myself and me alone.
Afternoons were the best time. With my siblings in school or somewhere, father at work and mother in siesta, I caught my moment. A few puffs were all I required. You see, children are happy with small things.
Cotton-wool being a constant, part of my exercise was experimenting with paper. Newspapers were the worst. It burnt fast and created smoke and smell. At that time, magazine papers had a different feel and texture. My favorites were The Illustrated weekly of India or Dharmyug (Hindi Weekly), both defunct now. But their paper smoldered. That was my requirement. The wool-cigarette exercise continued for some time till that novelty died.
During School, I never had the courage to approach a shop for a real cigarette. College was the same. None of my peers smoked. Also, being in love, I was more into body-building.
Then Damania Airways occurred. For a while I was a good boy doing good job. But Smokers were everywhere. In fact, it was a culture shock for me. Till then, I had only seen lady-villains blowing smoke in black and white movies. But in the Airline, girls with fag between their manicured fingers and exhaling smoke tentatively is common sight.
But frankly, I wouldn’t smooch such women. Not that I get it readily, but smoke-layered tongue smells putrid and it’s a turn-off. I am like that Forest Gump, who rejected sex by a fagging women and said, “She tasted like cigarettes “.
Later, I went one up on Cigarettes. I tried Cigars. While Cigarette can open doors, Cigar opens the ceiling. It’s simply – spiritual. The aroma and taste of raw tobacco and the volume of crisp smoke entering the lungs are exhilarating. The body, mind and soul all pay their respects. It’s like a twenty gun salute.
But Cigars need time, effort and expenses. It’s like the “Other Women”. Whereas, cigarette is a house-wife. I go back to it for companionship. I have love and hate relationships. Sometimes I stop talking (quit) but my prodigal “wife” (the fag) always wins me back. Often we have sex in the evenings. Yes, Sex! Smoking while drinking is like sex with your wife. In either case, when finished, you roll over and sleep.
I tried marijuana once and I assert that it’s suicidal. To be a vegetable after the act is not fun. Also, Hookah (water pipe) is cumbersome and restrictive. Smoking signifies freedom and it should mean so.
I strongly believe that raw unadulterated tobacco is the best. Those mild, ultra-mild and menthol are harmful as they contain additives. Then what next?
I want to smoke pipe. Oh! How I love that genius – Sherlock Holmes, blowing into that trumpet like pipe. I know, that’s what made him who he is. But I don’t know how to go about the rituals – Stuffing tobacco into that bowl and lighting it. I need a guru.