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Smoked Out

Akhil was in his second year of graduate course, when his age demanded him to be a post graduate. Not that he was bad in studies, he was indifferent to it. Life was all about friends, smokes and drinks at Dolphin. 

His favourite pastime was smoking. He had the unparalleled ability of identifying a smoke brand from the smell of it. Having tasted and smoked almost everything desi, he scouted for videsi imports. When that proved costly, he went about finding them out in Burma Bazaar. Nothing could stop him from smoking. Neither his fathers scolding, his mothers emotinoal plea, his teachers orders. Nothing. He was a chain smoker. 

In the drinking department, he was no fish. Occassional, for it never interested him as much as smoking did. He did all his experiments with smoking. He would take out the tobacco leaves from different brands, and then mix them in some ratio, and then prepare a blend of his own to smoke them out. When not smoking, he preferred to be at the Grooms Desk in the class.

The Grooms Desk was the last row in his class and consisted of Akhil and his friends who used to surf through magazines and books of all types, unknown to the Professor - magazines ranging from B Grade to Business Week to Kumudham to Ananda Vikadan, books ranging from KS to Ken Follet to Comics. With absolutely no attention on what is being taught in the class, he scraped through in his exams, thanks to his friends from the first row of his class. The only subject he cleared without any support was English. Thanks to Babu Sir.

Babu Sir was the hippiest Professor in the campus. Hippiest, not because of his dressing style, but because of his attitude. He was not preachy type. He advised the students to dress sensibly and stylishly, and atleast once in a week to dress formally. His idea of formals included a Black Trousers, Blue or off-White  Full Hand Shirt (but folded till the arms), a black belt and a black leather shoes. He dressed that way, probably because of that he held them to be perfect formals.

One December evening, Akhil had bunked the Mercantile Law class, for he found the professor to be way too boring, and was outside Sherin Store smoking one of his favourite brands. He was puffing hard when he saw Babu Sir a few metres away walking towards the shop. He lived in the adjacent street. Akhil put the smoke down and stamped it to oblivion, and wished Babu Sir "Good Evening Sir".

"Good Evening, Akhil" Babu Sir, went to the shop, bought couple of sticks and handed over to Akhil and said "Don't put the smoke down because of me. I won't mind, as long as you puff it outside the college. You have got every right to smoke here. After all, it is your Cigarette, Your Money, Your Lungs and Your Life. Not mine. Now please don't waste them, these sticks, I said. See you at the class, right." There was a parting smile. Then he walked off.

Akhil stood staring at the those sticks for a long time. He knew he will save them till his death, for they represented a very hard decision he had taken just now. He had just smoked out his smoking habits.

Based on an event narrated to me by Nanu (Narayan Sarma), my college junior.


Ketan said…
Nice! Did you by any chance delete one my comment on the previous post? An just curious about it. Wasn't knowing such a feature existed on blogspot. TC.

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