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By Priyam Saha in Pinkk! - On

You know what is worse than being a girl in India who smokes? You probably don’t. Because nothing is worse than being a girl in India who smokes. It’s true. If a certain section of men (and even women) are to be believed, girls aren’t ‘’supposed’’ to smoke; they aren’t even ‘’supposed’’ to ever think of wanting to smoke. But then smoking is fat free and by the same social stigma that tells us what a good Indian girl is ‘’supposed’’ to do, aren’t we ‘’supposed’’ to be thin and be drawn automatically to all things fat-free? Just saying.

But maybe sometimes we become too harsh about the judgements. I say this because there is something that the judging gives us women that we may or may not be capable of otherwise: a rocking sex life. It is believed that smoking automatically makes you a ‘slut’. So it doesn’t matter if we have been crying ourselves to sleep because of the dry spell that’s lasted for way too long or that we’re virgins because of miscellaneous reasons; if we are smoking, that apparently automatically means we are getting some. Or way too much, by Indian standards at least. Yes that’s very wrong. But it gets a little hard to care when we’re getting laid, right? Speaking of getting laid, the entire hoopla about the post coital cigarette is, in fact, true. We may have had our reservations about accepting it in the past, but I figured now that we are sluts anyway, we might as well. And you thought ‘smoker’ is someone who smokes and ‘slut’ is someone who actually sleeps around.

Ha! How primitive!

I remember the time when I started smoking. I used to take my most loved male friend when I wanted to smoke outside. It only adds to my miseries that he is a non-smoker. Anyway, I would make him hold a lit cigarette in his hand and walk by me as I’d smoke the one in mine. My grand plan, you ask? I thought it was a fool proof idea to reduce the volumes of the staring as we (I) smoked the night away in that shady park. It was only later that it struck me that ‘girl-smoking-with-a-guy-at-night’ doesn’t exactly add up to ‘ideal’ either. And eventually it struck me that for some people nothing will ever add up to ‘ideal’. And we can do very little about it.

I could be all fancy right now and quote a certain Turkish proverb that says coffee and tobacco are complete repose. Or better still, I could point out a number of beautiful, intelligent, smart, independent women who enjoy smoking. But I won’t. Instead, I just wish they’d understand that smoking will help us get married. And isn’t that the ultimate aim of our society? To get us married? It’s no secret that the greatest bonds are formed over smokes. Something as simple as ‘‘you got a lighter’ to the more adventurous ‘’umm... Can I bum a smoke?’’ have resulted in lasting friendships. And if Hindi cinematic history is anything to go by, opposite sex friendships don’t exist – (think aggressive Mohnish Behl in Maine Pyaar Kiya going ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahi ho sakte). Hence, automatically, we’d fall in love, get married, make babies and the cycle of life will continue. It’s a win-win for everyone, really. The disapproving lot gets to see unchaste women like us be lucky enough to be tied in holy matrimony. And us? Well, we get to smoke.

Smoking is a personal choice. What isn’t personal is the hypocritical stand one takes when –

  1. Men who smoke themselves have a problem with younger people smoking because let’s face it; they weren’t exactly 40 when they started.
  2. Men and Women who somehow very conveniently think it is okay for boys to smoke but god forbid if a girl were to do it! *faints*
  3. Unnecessary moral judgements are attached to something as petty.

No, it’s not a good habit. Yes, we are aware of all its harmful effects when we smoke. But I would like to believe that as a functioning part of a global community, we should be allowed to make that choice for ourselves.
And plus, believe it or not, we all ARE going to die eventually.

So go ahead, light(en) up. 

Priyam Saha

About me? Don't you wish you knew.

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