Smoking Gun! What Your Sutta Says About You


Smoking Gun! What Your Sutta Says About You

Illustration: Palak Bansal/Arré

As far as blind faith is concerned, there are religious fanatics, and then there are political party worshippers. But above them all are smokers loyal to their brand of cigarettes. It’s easier to get an Uber in Mumbai in the middle of a cyclone-scare than it is to convince your Gudang-enthusiast friend to smoke regular cigarettes.

Over the last century or so, the availability of mass-produced cigarettes have unknowingly given rise to blood-thirsty mobs of brand-loyal smokers, waiting to take you down a peg for criticising their chosen means of slow death. Whether you’re a Lokhandwala chhapri or an overtly pretentious US-return, there’s a preferred brand of cigarette for each archetype in urban India. Here’s a look at some of them:-

Marlboro Hards

You are a fucking savage! You are also kind of an insecure douche who gets off on coming across like a badass. Bonus douchebag points if you call them “Reds” which also means you likely spent some time abroad. More reason why your co-workers wish you’d just shut the fuck up about your stint in the US. Every time you begin talking about how “American women are just… they’re different, y’know?” they secretly wish they could choke you to death right there in the office break room.

Marlboro Lights

You’re too much of a pansy to smoke Marlboro Hards but since you are a brand-conscious, bourgeois scumbag, you feel the need to associate yourself with a premium brand without the associated health risks. Also, you are the guy who most likely bums cigarettes from friends and doesn’t carry his own lighter because you’re still living in the delusion of being an “occasional” smoker. You are not. Your idea of an ideal date is Juhu Beach and you enjoy masturbation more than sex.

Esse or any slim cigarette brand

Hi, princess! Not that you need someone to reiterate this for you, but you have severe daddy issues. You also only smoke when either drunk, depressed, pre-coital, or post-coital. Which is most times. You realised sometime towards the end of your teenage years that no amount of papa’s money or visits to Kala Ghoda Arts Festival can make up for your utter lack of personality. But it’s okay, because you will eventually find some rich SoBo dude to have an arranged marriage with, and do you know which brand is also the most preferred among the Bored Trophy Wives demographic? You guessed it: Esse.

Classic Milds

The preferred cancer stick for most Lokhandwala chhapris. You likely call it “sutta” and only began smoking because you thought SRK doing that smoke cloud thingy in Don was kind of cool. Your paanwala despises you because you keep telling him you’ll pay him later but never actually do. You don’t always carry cigarettes but keep a fancy BIC lighter handy in case a group of pretty girls need one at the club. Your parents still wire you money even though you are well into your late 20s.

It’s easier to get an Uber in Mumbai in the middle of a cyclone-scare than it is to convince your Gudang-enthusiast friend to smoke regular cigarettes.

Iceburst or Dunhill Switch

You reek of teenage douchebaggery. You likely just began smoking and need a reason to feel edgy despite your IB or A-Level education. You are a virgin who touches themselves an unhealthy amount and only began smoking because you wanted to impress your peers. You sometimes look back at your first puff of smoke while sitting at Motu’s or Carter Road and wish you’d have just passed it on. Much like your parents wished they’d done with you.

Chhota Gold Flake

Judging by the amount of brain cells your stoner-ass has fried since you first started smoking at age 12, cigarettes are just “no longer your scene.” Your friends live in constant fear that one day your name will flash on their phones and there will be a narcotics officer at the other end of the line. You have no ambition in life and will likely die from an overdose of some illegal substance. The only reason your friends still tolerate you is because you know all the dingy places to get maal in the city at any hour of the day.

Benson & Hedges

Wow. Can you be more generic? You likely began smoking in the late noughties and decided you were too cool to smoke Marlboros like the rest of your peer group. You’ve figured out that whether it’s Benson Lights or Hards, people who smoke them usually decide to quit smoking soon after. This is not surprising because Bensons are just that fucking bad. So in hindsight, good for you.


You believe you are better than everyone else simply because you puff at the pod-end of a compact, USB-like device, and let out vaporised vegetable glycerine instead of toxic fumes. People want to punch you in the first two minutes of meeting your pretentious ass. The two people that care about you, react to your Juuling the way parents react to their children smoking Phantom cigarettes: They don’t take you seriously, but they worry about you nonetheless

Rolls own tobacco

You hipster-ass, likely broke mofo! You have no fear of people thinking that you may be blatantly rolling a J in public. Everyone around you judges you for having way too much time on your hands and when people ask to bum a smoke from you, you creep them out by licking the rolling paper in a seductive way.

Gudang Garam or any clove cigarette

Did your father beat you as a child? Were you a former child actor who starred in a few Ekta Kapoor serials and then experienced a fall from grace? I’m just trying to figure out what childhood trauma or tragedy makes you put yourself through smoking these. If you like sweets so much, just eat some fucking Chutki.