was in the mood for a “doob spin”. You know that thing you do when you play your favourite music, pick up your friends, and drive around smoking some good stuff and enjoying the city. But as I buckled up my seat belt, I picked up a familiar, earthy smell lingering in the interior of my car. It was the unmistakable scent of a recently smoked joint. I hadn’t driven the car in days, so it couldn’t have been me. I suspected a driver from the building had borrowed the keys from the watchman and used the car as his hotbox. Maybe.
I didn’t think much about it. But little clues of what was really happening began to appear in my house. There was a sudden appearance of a suspicious amount of KitKat chocolates in my dad’s drawer and his periodic absences were followed by long hours of silent contemplation. It couldn’t be, could it? My 55-year-old Kishore Kumar-loving dad couldn’t possibly be like me?
The idea was thrilling. I’ve been a stoner for over 10 years now. (For anyone from the Narcotics Bureau reading this, a stoner is just what we call people who like stones.) Every stoner will tell you, smoking up together forges a bond of a different kind. Every joint comes with story, whether it’s of a thrilling midnight escape from a hostel or of a creepy, haunted holiday home. The act of sharing the herb brings us closer and it’s only in the smoking circle that you see people and the world with a more benign gaze. What would it be like to have dad, the one guy I love most in the world, in the smoking circle with me?
He cupped both his hands, brought them to his lips, and made a loud inhaling sound – the universal sign for hitting a chillum.
Now dad has always been a stand-up kind of guy. He always drank his McDowell’s and smoked his cigarettes in full view of his parents; he encouraged me to do the same, but just like me, he had not crossed the final frontier. Mary Jane was still a secret he kept from his family just like me. My mother, I knew, would not tolerate it under her roof. In fact, I was busted once and it was not pretty. Mom was distraught and thought I was going to end up like a junkie on The Wire. After the fireworks at home had died down, dad took me for a bike ride, parked near an empty street, and gave me a good talking to. “Don’t forget, we were your age, and have already pulled all the stunts you’re trying to pull now.” But now that I look back, it was a fairly half-hearted reprimand. Maybe dad was still pulling his stunts!
My suspicion was finally confirmed when I sat with him one Saturday evening as he sipped on his rum. He was lamenting the poor organisational skills of his friends, who were planning a weekend getaway. Being on his fourth or fifth drink, he was a little loose with his tongue.
“I told these bastards, fuck Karjat; let’s go to Himachal!”
“Why Himachal in particular, dad?”
He cupped both his hands, brought them to his lips, and made a loud inhaling sound – the universal sign for hitting a chillum. It was true! My dad was a sly stoner! He was part of the brotherhood. It was like finding out that Scooby-Doo and Shaggy are stoners – a special part of your childhood suddenly makes a lot more sense and cements an already sentimental bond.
It’s been a few months since that day and I’ve been working up the nerve to bring our shared passion out in the open. I’ve brought up the legalisation debate at the dinner table and also dropped a few hints about my own fondness for a well-rolled doobie. Last week, I took a giant stride in the direction of Mission: Doobie with Daddy, when I discovered a kickass weed strainer among his things and asked him outright if he needed any weed to clean. He just grinned at me.
I think we’re in the home stretch now. Today, on the holy occasion of 4/20, I plan to go home and finally say the line that I have been rehearsing in my head for months: Dad, let’s burn one down.