As we enter this new world of college, we see and meet a lot of different people. A lot of us enter this world of total independence as innocent protected kids and we leave as informed, independent and opinionated adults. We see around us people with varied habits and idiosyncrasies, some of which we take up and some we don’t.
Let’s not deny that we’ve all been in a place where we’ve judged others for their smoking habits and we’ve all had our practical well-researched explanations for it. We’ve all had wars inside our head, whether to take that first drag or drop it. Some of us went ahead with it never to return and some of us didn’t.
Here’s a sneak peek to the time when we first discovered a little but a very popular Kirana store next to our college and its importance in our lives:
After every lecture was over, majority of the seats got empty, I stayed in class wondering where would everyone go as soon as the class ends. I knew there was a place called “Nest Square Lane” which was very famous for its stalls where all sort of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food was available at reasonable prices but what was the need to go there every now and then?
One thing which always hit my mind was why after every lecture students had a peculiar urge to go there and that too on a daily basis? Why wouldn’t they eat in the college canteen? The food available in canteen didn’t taste so bad in fact it tasted really good!
One day I decided to go to the Nest Square Lane with a bunch of other friends that I hardly hung out with but I didn’t want us to be left out.
There were a number of stalls on the either side of the road, filled with students all around. As I entered the left lane the whole view was so disparate, my speed slowed down with every step and the air was so hard to breathe in. Now, I knew what was happening. I knew exactly why everyone would come here and understood the undying urge that brought them here.
A man with the beard came to one of my friends with a tray. She took one cigarette and a lighter from his hand. She burned it and gave the lighter back. Later, she offered me a drag which I profusely said no to. While I was minutely observing everything around me, I am not afraid to say that I was totally judging all of them BADLY.
But obviously I was trying hard to ‘fit in’ and so I didn’t want anyone to know how judgmental I was being inside my head. The air around me was choking me but I still didn’t complain about my discomfort as I was the only one in the group who didn’t smoke and who couldn’t tolerate the smell of smoke. I was also not ready with my facts and research to debate about this as this was my very first encounter with this culture of smoking. As I looked around, I found more students of the class smoking and I could not believe it. I never expected to see my potential crush or the girl I really admired or the innocent nerdy guy of my class who would just mind his own business. All of them were smoking!
My friends soon finished the smoke and threw filter down and smashed it with their shoes and there I saw hundreds of filters lying on the ground.
After going back to my room, I opened my laptop and started my research. From studying about the number of deaths, the different types of cancers one could get through smoking, the science behind nicotine addiction to motivational articles on why I should not choose to take that first drag, I grasped whatever information possible.
I wouldn’t deny that even though I was disgusted with the condition of my classmates and even though smoking was one of the worst habits one could take up, I was scared to miss out on some of great moments of my college life that would happen over smoke breaks- The chai and The sutta.
Do I need a pile of smokes to deal with my heart-breaks, the career stress, tough exams or family problems? Or can I handle my stress all alone with strength and self-control?
It’s choice that each one of us has to make. #TheGoodGirlShow