On a hot summers
evening, I was standing on the busy Park Street crossing,
with one of my old buddies. Surgeon by profession, he had been a
smoker since the days we attended Medical School together. As we
waited for the pedestrian light to go green, he lit up for the
fourth time in less than 3 quarters of an hour we had been
together. The red light changed and Mr. Steam Engine and I crossed
over. Once on the Planetarium footpath I couldn't help remarking
"In our Medical College days you used to smoke maybe half a
pack a day, but now you have become a non stop chimney." He
smiled and curtly cut back, "You Psychiatrists cant even
dream about the amount of stress we Surgeons are under."
Both of us being
doctors knew very well that Nicotine in the inhaled smoke
stimulated Adrenaline secretion.- the fight or flight hormone.
Prolonged exposure to Adrenaline, as all smokers are, compounds
all the effects of stress and forms a vicious cycle whereby more
stress leads to more craving and intake of cigarettes, leading to
more adrenaline, leading to more symptoms of stress and more
cigarettes again. I was just going to ask him to go back to his
Physiology textbook and restudy the Physiologic effects of
Nicotine, but before I could do that my chimney pal started of
with a rapid fire round.............I know what you are going to
say...... MI .....CVA......Bronchogenic CA......I don't give
a rats arse for all this common Medical Bull..... All of us are
going to die one day anyway.........One of these speeding cars
could have made me history.....
All that this
vocal violence invoked from me was the simple reply "Ya, you
could have become a hit and run case but you didn't because you
stopped for the pedestrian green light. Instead of arguing for the
sake of arguing why cant you be man enough and accept that your
mind has become a slave to your bodily instincts."
Before I could
properly finish he started of again Rapid fire round no.2
......Who isn't a slave....... thirst....... hunger .....
sleep ....... sex........U, me, he, she are all
slaves........Blah, blah, blah.....
I was looking
forward to a relaxing evening at the Fine Arts Academy where
"Galileo" was playing and I didn't want to spoil it over
an argument with an obstinate smoking surgeon. So as we settled
into our seats I mumbled "Forget it, my mistake, I should
never have started this." As we sat mesmerized watching
Galileo we forgot all about our argument and we didn't talk
further about anything even remotely related to tobacco.
morning my sleep was short circuited by the telephone. This
couldn't be the ward matron cause I wasn't on call, then what
could it possibly be? Well here was my buddy on the phone
complaining that I had stolen his nights sleep by talking crap
about the mind being a slave to the body. Still in a trance I
couldn't even recall what he was talking about, so I told him to
shut up and go to sleep and again hit the pillow.
At breakfast the
door bell rings and who do we have. You guessed it, the surgeon of
course. With our second cup of coffee finished I was still waiting
for him to bring up what was on his mind. As he got ready to light
up he mumbled something about me being right. Just to savor the
moment a bit I begged pardon, this time he yelled at me
"Alright, alright you were right, I have become a slave to
this 3 inch white oncostick." Then he added softly "But
did you notice that for three whole hours at a stretch while
watching Galileo I didn't have a single puff."
didn't cause I was too busy doing what I should have been doing.
Watching the play that is. But I said "Of course I did",
cause I knew that my buddy had already overcome the most important
barrier while quitting smoking and I did not want to dishearten
that one is living a life on the terms dictated by tobacco smoke.
that ones freedom has been sacrificed on the alter of a habit.
You will be
astonished to know that 60% of smokers genuinely want to give up,
but they cant.
masculine egos (females inclusive) prevents us from accepting the
fact that we have become slaves to a habit that we ourselves had
started. We love believing that we can quit the habit any time we
want to, but we are only fooling ourselves and sinking further
into quicksand. Before
solving a problem we have to acknowledge that the problem exists
and if we don't do that well
you cant win battles with shadows.
But if you are brave enough to accept that cigarettes are
impinging on your freedom to be whatever you could be then the
journey form base camp to the first summit is already done.
We are all born
free. Freedom is as basic to our psychological integrity as food
and water are to our physical being. Most smokers know every
reason that exists in the book to quit, but they don't cause they
manage to satisfy the basic instinct of freedom by logics and
rational frames which are flawed at their very root like .....all
of us have to die (But all of us don't commit
suicide).....everybody is a slave to hunger and thirst (Unlike
tobacco smoke, food and water aid us to survive, how can smokers
be blind to mix up survival instincts with suicidal ones).....the
argument can go on.
friend in a matter of 2 months was able to overthrow what he once
believed to be the insurmountable ruler of his senses and
instincts. He could not tolerate the fact that his freedom was
being impinged upon so he revolted and successfully did what most
smokers hope to do one day.
All you have to
do is accept the fact that the smoke you inhale is impinging on
your freedom to function to your fullest potential. Once you do
that half the battle has been won the other half we will win
together by religiously following the fortnightly articles that
will appear in this space.
of the Poisoned Path
the Dead End
Puff full of Poison
friend in need is a friend indeed
be or Not To Be
Can Make The Difference
Pays To Know In Advance
Who Were Born Free Can Break Freeeee...