As you are already aware the Rajans are a very pious family. We have no addictions. Well, almost.
Well, let me not bluff you. Remember, a saying “A cigarette is a pipe with a flame on one end and a fool at the other”….the credit for this goes to my grandfather. He was the fool that was being referred to. Anonymous was his friend – the non-smoker at the party.
But then again, my grandfather wasn’t always a smoker. It as an innocent question from his another friend that got him into smoking.
My grandfather had only recently gotten married and being a perfect gentleman he was discussing his first night with his friends. That’s when one of his friends asked him: “Did you smoke after sex?”
My grandfather replied: “Hell, no! I was alternating between slow and fast.”
My grandfather’s friends let out a chuckle and advised him to keep a bucket full of water nearby while having sex…just in case. They never clarified to him about the smoking they were referring to.
Anyway, to cut the long story short that’s how & when my grandfather came to know about smoking. But he wasn’t that much a smoker – he used only one lighter each day.
I took to smoking like a duck to wine – that is with great difficulty. Maybe because I was allergic to dust, I was scared of smoking. My father would spend days on end explaining to me that cigarettes weren’t like tea (remember tea dust?)…they didn’t have dust in them. As is the wont with teenagers, I didn’t listen to my father and didn’t take up smoking till I was 23 and had started earning.
If you are a man and are reading this, you would agree that after we start earning, the respect for our fathers return. That’s when I tried a smoke for the first time…and it was orgasmic.
Eventually, I became a smoker par excellence. I think it was 2007 when ITC, the premium cigarette makers in the country mailed me a certificate which said “Smoker de Laureate.” I understood why they had singled me out for this certification the month I quit smoking….apparently their sales dropped to 80% and their stocks came down crashing.
During my smoking days, I also coined a hypothesis. Still a hypothesis because before I could prove it and convert it into a theorem….I gave up smoking. Here is my hypothesis.
In a gang of smoking & non-smoking people the smoke always floats from the smoking people to the non-smoking people.
Giving up smoking wasn’t an easy job. After trying everything else…the nicotine patches came to my help. Every day in the morning, I would stick one on each eye and become blind for the day….this ensured that even when I had a deep craving, I could never find the cigarettes.
Well that’s enough about cigarettes. After all, there are other kinds of addictions too.
Had it not been for alcohol, we Rajans would never have been able to grow our families. Most marriages in our family are aided by alcohol – did I tell you that when a bald guy working with Lintas had come to see Rekha, I had gotten drunk on 4 beers and called up her father to say that I would want to marry her instead. And bingo…I got married to Rekha in two months time…all because of 4 beers!
My grandfather didn’t make that mistake. He got 4 bottles of rum instead from his future father-in-law (as dowry) to marry my grand mother.
My father followed my grandfather’s advice and headed straight for rum. He would drink two pegs daily…and if we asked him what he was drinking, he would say: “It was medicine for his cough.”
When 2 pegs became four, my mother started pestering him to sober down. That’s when my father found out about Alcoholics Anonymous and visited them. He thought Alcoholics Anonymous was a place where one could drink under a different name and not be found out by one’s wife, girl friend or parents. Needless to say he was disappointed.
When my mother went over the edge, and told my father to not touch alcohol in any form, my father promised her that he would do as she pleased. That day onwards he started using a funnel to drink.
Today, I also follow in my father’s foot steps and use a funnel. And when Rekha asks: “Did you drink?” I answer: “I didn’t touch a single drop!”
After Rhea’s birth I have been cutting down. I mean, I am doing it in phases….to start with I don’t drink while sleeping.
There are other addictions too…but unfortunately we haven’t exploited them as much as we would have wanted to. For example, the only family member of mine who has come closest to taking drugs has been that uncle working at Mumbai Airport customs.