Confessions of a Pulse Addict

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Confessions of a Pulse Addict

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza

I

can’t recall the exact moment I knew I was addicted. Just like love, it snuck up on me, and before I knew it, had taken full control of my life and being.

It had started innocently enough as it does with most addicts, as a post-lunch fix. But before I knew it, I was rationalising it as my post-dinner fix, then post-smoke, post-work, pre-work, pre-bathroom-break… I was a junkie, faster than I could say “Dharampal Satyapal”.

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Most substance dependencies thrive because of two reasons: They either help you escape reality, or they remind you of a pleasant memory that you want to replicate. It started with the latter in my case. My fix tasted of school afternoons, of recess when I’d wait for the kairiwala like a drunk uncle waits for starters at a shaadi. I’d crave the little hunks of the raw mango doused in a sharp, tangy masala.

Trembling like a heroin addict, I’d constantly be feeling my pocket seeking those tiny bulges, feeling a bit like a pervert.

For the few moments that I placed the green capsule of goodness on my tongue, I would become a child once again: Running around my school playground like a hooligan, the wind in my hair, free from the pressures of adulting. And then just as soon as it would start, it would be gone. I thirsted for that fleeting high with all my being.

The junkie in me recognised this for what it was: a hit.

With the highs came the lows. Trembling like a heroin addict, I’d constantly be feeling my pocket seeking those tiny bulges, feeling a bit like a pervert. Running my hand over the shiny green plastic packaging of the capsules, hearing the sweet music of the rustle, a dangerously euphoric expression would be plastered across my face. I knew this was affecting my social life – women began avoiding me and children were cautioned to stay away from me – but when has a junkie cared about leaving a good impression?

And the fix itself? Ah the glorious, glorious fix! Every few hours, I would unwrap the sweet, hard lozenge from its plastic shroud, and begin yet another journey from hand to mouth. The taste would hit my tongue and travel to my brain, rearranging my synapses. It took its time, unleashing wave after wave of sourness, coupled with a tiny almost imperceptible hint of sweetness. This would go on until finally, the real goodness at its core was revealed. It felt like sex. As I bit down on that intoxicating capsule, it would crumble into sweet, sour, salty, and savoury shards that would send me over the edge. Just like Uber, if trips came with start buttons, I’d hit mine.

I began to recognise I had problem when my jar of joy, started emptying out before noon and the empty wrappers began piling up all around the house. My parents wondered where they had gone wrong with me. Was greed a bigger sin than lust? Would Jesus forgive? Could more church mornings have saved me? Was this the work of the Devil? Their son was going over to the dark side and soon they would lose him to a sea of chatpata chaos.

So when my mother found that those empty condom wrappers actually belonged to Pulse candy, she didn’t know whether to be happy or sad.

I loved my parents so I tried cutting back. I smoked more cigarettes to kill the urge and actively avoided my dealer, the neighbourhood paanwala. And you know what? I almost beat it.

Until one day after purchasing a cigarette, the paanwala handed over two hits in lieu of change. My salivary glands went into hyper drive. My brain began to beg. I gave in and popped both. When I regained consciousness 30 minutes later, I was lying face down in a stranger’s bed covered in Pulse wrappers and chaat masala.

That day, I took the name of Jesus and my mother, and went cold turkey. I haven’t looked back since. I’ve been clean for six months now, thanks to sheer force of will. And the introduction of Pulse Guava. It is gross, a travesty, and a blot on the fine name of the House of Pulse.

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