By Tanima Samaddar Jan. 29, 2018
Whether or not you actually smoke, hanging out in the company of smokers has made you take on their characteristics, like shortness of breath, reduced stamina, and constantly patting your pockets for a lighter.
In an age before e-cigs, vapes, or even the good ol’ sutta, smoking was originally practiced by mystics and sages to reach an altered state of consciousness in order to perceive, interact with, and channel the transcendental energies of the spirit world. Even today, some still claim this lofty goal justifies their cancerous mission of self-destruction. When it comes to non-smokers, smoking can make them achieve an altered state of consciousness as well, one where they gain a newfound understanding of the prices of Chota vs Bada Goldflake, and a sudden feeling of smelling like an ashtray at a cheap bar. Attaining this heightened state will come with you shedding some of your non-smoker attachments.
Your Mother’s Love
There are plenty of reasons to not smoke – the disgusting smell or the way it burns a hole in your pockets before burning a hole in your lungs, but the most emotionally loaded one is the “sar ki kasam” your mom made you take when you were joining college. Even though she is still alive and kicking, which according to her superstition means the kasam is still in effect, she will start to doubt you every time you walk home smelling like your friend’s Marlboro. Any explanation you meekly offer will wilt under her irrefutable argument that “birds of a feather, flock together.”
Your Fitbit Progress
You might be taking great pride in your healthy living choices. You could wake up at 5 am, eat a breakfast of raw eggs, kale, and avocado juice before going for your morning run, but your performance will start to wane. Whether or not you actually smoke, hanging out in the company of smokers has made you slowly start to take on their characteristics, like shortness of breath, reduced stamina, and constantly patting your pockets for a lighter. Naturally, the carbon monoxide in your lungs will overpower the protein shake in your sipper.
Your Non-Smoker Friends
People who don’t smoke come in two types: the passive smokers and the non-smoking equivalent of FEMEN. If you’re a passive smoker like me, you don’t see how enjoying the occasional cancer stick makes someone a worse person, but if you’re the other type, then each cigarette ever lit might have been put out on your mother’s back for how much it offends you. Once you begin hanging out with the smoker crowd, it will be a litmus test of all your non-smoker friends. Several moralising lectures later, you’ll be left with a smaller, but definitely more chilled-out group.
From the moment you decide you aren’t going to give in to peer pressure to smoke, it should take you a couple of months to lose these three parts of your life. Now you have two choices – either make your peace with your new life, or hope the next budget makes cigarettes too expensive for everyone except the one per cent.
Tanima is currently doing her masters in Psychology. She is hopelessly romantic yet a little cynical about life. In her spare time, she likes to hold long and meaningful conversations with Sheru, her Indian-bred dog.