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A Puff, Curiously Enough;

Memoirs of An Underage Smoker!

Faheem Ahmad Khan

An icy and chilly day of December 1980s at “Booni Jeep Stand”; the temperature was freezing and cold wind was piercing our bodies like dagger penetrating soft tissues. Suddenly a green Jeep whiz passed me and dropped something on the ground. I rushed towards the object, like a hyena cub out of curiosity runs after flying beetle. Within few seconds, I reached the spot and saw a sparkling smoke- emitting thing on the road.

Without delay I scooped at it, like a “Kingfisher” taking a deep plunge into sea to catch a fish. To my surprise, it was a freshly disposed off piece of cigarette. Hit by curiosity, I took it into my tiny mouth (It was tiny that time) and try to inhale in tiny gasps. As soon as first puff entered my lungs, I heard and felt a very powerful ear piercing bomb blast; an explosion, depriving me of my hearing capacity, making me unconscious for few seconds, and then knocking me down to the ground. I thought I was hit by a speedy truck or by an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade). After gaining conscious I saw a blurred faced man with an angry voice reprimanding me harshly.

In the next moment when the twinkling stars before my eyes and cobwebs from my mind got cleared; I saw papa grinding his teeth in anger and crushing the piece of half- smoked -cigarette under his pointed shoes and scolding me

At that very moment I realized the whole bomb blast scene in action-re-play and slow-motion. It wasn't an explosion, but Papa’s powerful slap on my ear-lobe; I didn't land on the ground due to the high intensity blast, but his bone crashing kicks had knocked me down. After inflicting“Physical remand”, I was taken into custody and the Judicial Remand started.Like a convict in a witness box; I stood there and Papa like plaintiff bombarded me with his nerve breaking questions.Within few minutes a dialogue, a heated debate, started between me and my father in the following way

Papa: Who told you to smoke cigarettes?
Me: “I wasn't smoking, just put it into my mouth.”
Papa: “Who gave you this piece of Cancer?
Me: “It’s just a cigarette, found on the road.

Papa with a reddened face at the peak of anger twisting my ear with full force replied. “How dare you reasoning with me”.

Bursting into tears I replied why don’t you go and imprint the same slaps on the faces of people smoking on the road?

Without a break putting his hand on my mouth to stop more questions, Papa replied in one breath. First they are not my children; secondly, I can't exercise my authority on them, thirdly, people on roads and streets would indulge in so many indecent activities would you follow them? “Tomorrow they will strip naked and run on the road would you follow their footsteps? “Say and promise that I will never smoke and will not copy such people again.

I as an obedient child, promised him, not to smoke throughout my life. With these concluding remarks, he took out his blue color handkerchief, with his kind hands wiped my tears and put a chocolate named "Jubilee" on my hand (A prized item for kids that time).Since that day I have never touched cigarettes, nor let anyone in the family to smoke.

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