Monday, April 27, 2009

SMOKING GUN Someone's Gotta Do It

Publication: Times Of India Mumbai; Date:2008 Sep 11; Section:Editorial; Page Number 18


Someone's Gotta Do It

Skand Shukla

This entire hullabaloo about smoking is so painful. The statutory warning on cigarette packets sets my heart afire. The frequency of inhalation increases to exhale the anger within. As if we smokers smoke merely for the sake of it. As if the world would become a better place if all of us stopped smoking once and for all. I exhort the smokers of the world to unite, as we have nothing to lose but our lungs. Only united can we ward off the prospects of a smokeless world. Only united can we plead our case, enlighten non-smokers and make them see the fire of service burning within us. Has anyone wondered how our roads are made, our electricity lines put up, and our irrigation canals laid out? It's we, the unobtrusive social servants, who make this possible. It's we who choke our lungs with nicotine and provide revenue for the society to move. It's we who knowingly and willingly die a slow death to make civilisation live. While governments across the world are concerned about rising unemployment, we are the ones whose smoke sustains so many — tobacco cultivators, cigarette makers, admen, dentists, cancer specialists... the number is legion.

I must concede, however, that we smokers have private ends to serve too. We inhale to fight pollution. Surprised! Well one needn't be, for it is based on a simple medical philosophy. Aren't we given weakened doses of viruses to make us immune to various diseases? The same belief governs us smokers. We inhale small amounts of tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide and what not to fight environmental pollution. Has anyone given a thought as to how our distaff side would have felt liberated had there been no smoke? Non-smokers seem to be patently anti-feminist. As the two genders smoke together, their mingling smoke-rings signal the burning away of gender differences and their coming together. Enveloped in the smokescreens they feel empowered to conquer the evil world. People seeking a curb on smoking forget its importance in community life. The mere threat of losing the 'hukka-pani' relationship has brought the mightiest to his knees. Non-smokers should become aware of our contribution to the world. Damned be the definition of a cigar as a roll of tobacco with fire at one end and a fool at the other. A generous fool should be more welcome than self-centred wisdom.


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