Wednesday, December 22, 2004

No Bodys Fault But Mine

I am sitting in a lonely lonesome town, deprived of some of the things that I would want the most and no marks for guessing what song I am listening to since the title of this post gives it away. It's Zepplin's "No Bodys Fault But Mine". Before anything else I would once again like to toast to the musical genius that was Led Zepplin!!
I sat back today, feeling confused, about what was to be done, what had been done and what I am thinking of doing. I have led a severly hedonisitic year. Like awfully, done most of what family, friends, religion etc told me not to do, kept satisfying my ego, kept satisfying my urge, lived a life in vain, lived a life that revolved around the present and the immediate future. Never thought about an afterlife, never thought about repentance, found an excuse for everything and managed to define gray areas. The result - I have just realized that I cant get what I wanted the most, since I am sure that hedonism is one thing that she would not support or approve of. Its just a crash-boom-bang situation. Like the time when one throws a party when the parents are away and the parents return sooner than expected.
All this led me to believe one thing. I have lost the game. I have lost the battle for which I was spawned, so to say. I have become the person that I once would have detested. Some have said that theres hope in relizaton, but the way I look at it, if you are destined for hell then make the most of this world.
Hence the title, its no bodys fault, my life in vain is a fault for sure, but none besides my self is to be blamed for it! I would unfortunately continue to live for the present. My unicorn would contiue to be just that. I would seek gains in the society, I would seek to make a name, a reputation, a position that quite a few people may envy, but they might not know, what I have given up for it... everything, to say the least!

The silver lining, Zeppling rocks ;) !!!

Friday, December 03, 2004

A Shout Out To Cigarettes

Its been almost three months since I lit my last cigarette. It feels good to have given up that habit, yet I miss the moments associated with it. I cant think of anyone having done a better job than cigarette marketers in associating their products with the various moments in life. Celebration, commemoration, happiness, grief, victory, loss, together with friends on a boat or in solitude by yourself at the beach, a Marlboro/Benson & Hedges/Player's was relegated as the ultimate accessory for all occasions. It actually made a lot of sense too, guys and girls bunking classes to take a smoke, or sitting by ourselves with very little money and "splitting a fag"! It was daring to smoke, it was an expression of rebellion, it was a sign of being old, grown up, mature and adult, it was all that and it was kind of cool too. One thing is for sure, it was a beautiful part of growing up.

I started smoking rather late as compared to some of my friends who had been puffing on the "death sticks" (as one of my friends call them) since they were fifteen or something. I used to be a big non-smoker, lecturing my friends about why its bad for them, till one day, on a very depressing night of March 1998 I stopped my car near one of those small Karachi kiosk that sell cigarettes on one side and panadol on the other (its perfect irony) and bought 3 Marlboro Lights for 9 rupees and a cigarette lighter for a buck. I sat back in the car, put the cigarette in my mouth and lit the first cigarette, I had no clue what I was doing and I didn’t for another few weeks, that’s when a friend of mine taught me how to "smoke".

The initial idea was to get some attention from this lady, it worked, but i found that the lady wasn’t what I had in mind, the only good thing to come out of that stint was the cigarette itself and so it hung on. Marlboro lights was replaced Marlboro Reds which were switched with Benson and Hedges. I kept having thoughts about quitting, I kept thinking its not the best of things, but there was something about that 2 inch long roll of tobacco that just made so much sense. It was a bond breaker, a social communicator, a pick up line, an opportunity for informal discussions, and sometimes just a dam good feeling.

All that was in an environment with no controls. I could smoke in any dam place that I wanted to as long as my mother didn’t catch me smoking. Public busses, university common areas, public parks, zoos, concerts, restaurants and the list continued. There was also no control over where I could buy cigarettes, from those little kiosks to general stores, etc, cigarettes were widely available to all who wanted to buy them. The quantity wasn’t fixed either, you could buy packs of 20 or just tell the vendor that u five cigarettes out of a pack.

And then I came to Canada – a place where one doesn’t see a single bit of tobacco advertising, no billboards, no TV/Radio spots no magazine ads, no inserts, nothing! A pack of cigarette in Canada costs at least $6 (Rs. 250) there are very few places that you can smoke. Some cities have put bans on smoking in pubs and clubs, you wont find restaurants with a smoking section, if you have to smoke, go out and come back after the smoke. I still continued my relationship with cigarettes. It felt incomplete with that roll of paper between my fingers.

In August I met someone who asked me when I would quit, my response was, when I cant sleep at night because of cough. Soon enough there were three nights in a row where I coughed so bad that I couldn’t sleep. Ironically I had been smoking Marlboro Lights those days. One night after a serious cough attack – I looked at my pack of cigarettes and said Sorry Dear Friend But It Seems We Have to Part Our Ways.

To date, I miss the cigarettes, not because of its nicotine content, since I don’t feel the urge for it anymore, even if I am in a smoke filled pub. I miss having a partner, old reliable Marlboro, the fall back plan, if nothing else works then I at least have my Marlboros.

Unfortunately, its one of those friends that our parents warn us about. It can be there through the best and worst of times, but there comes a point when we have to part ways with the friend. We know we will miss the friend, we know it would great to have the friend with us right now, but we also realize that in the greater shape of things its better that we are left in our worlds.

I guess that’s what its come to with cigarettes; great memories, good times, no future.