Thursday, April 10, 2008

Don't go up in smoke






-By Swetha Amit

http://content.msn.co.in/MSNContribute/Story.aspx?PageID=b8507415-9602-487a-ab57-bdcef0fd71f6

"I will huff and puff till I blow your house down”. These lines of a popular fable: ‘Three little pigs” that was narrated to us during our childhood are still embedded in our minds.


Going back to the narrative, it was the weak foundation of the stack of hay and the sticks that led to the entry of the wolf into the lives of the first two pigs. Unlike its former counterparts, the third managed to pose a tough exterior of a bundle of bricks that marred the entry and instead its strong will power and shrewdness ultimately lead to the destruction of the vily villain.


What seems like a mere fairy tale surprisingly draws parallels to the lives of millions and a monster that people are battling against. Unable to weather storms and pose a strong exterior like those of the bricks, many have succumbed to certain vices and weaknesses. This has unfortunately led to the seepage of a monstrous element of the "wolf" into their lives; one form of which causes people to puff and huff-it is none other than the deadly cigarette.


‘Smoking is injurious to health’ is an oft quoted warning. With the current trend of fitness and health consciousness prevailing, it is surprising to see many taking a casual puff for varied reasons. Peer pressure, inquisitive stance of the budding adolescents, the dreaded "fitting in" syndrome has precipitated the chain reaction of many to ultimately turn into chain smokers. Not to mention the act of emulating their favorite celebrities/elders in the family; certainly adds fuel to the fire on a literal basis.


Craving to go on a ‘high’ leads to putting ones near and dear ones in despair and perennial ‘lows.’ Sometimes the obsessive tendency to battle our stress and woes makes one want go so ‘high’ that it eventually creates an irreplaceable distance between those who were once close to our hearts. Is this all worth it especially when this new found companion does nothing but back stabs us by creating a hole in our hearts? Or should we say lungs?


Robbing us out of our diligence and causing us to become irritable, moody, and temperamental, we end up as strangers to our own selves and others’. One can also not ignore the fact that a careless stance of a burning cigarette thrown in a huff may result in our precious ones/things to go up in flames and leading to destruction of our domesticated abodes.


The initial false state of euphoria seems to have instigated the inability to give up this addictive behaviour of humans. Instead it has clung on to them like leeches determined to extract every ounce of blood to quench its deprived state in turn depriving individuals of their survival instincts. Addiction to substance abuse has sadly led to many abusing their personal, social and professional lives. Their healthy personalities are converted into nothing less than ruins similar to that of an ancient archaeological site of the historical era. The only difference being that the latter is a matter of pride in its ruined state.


Several studies have shown the cause of cardiovascular diseases to stem from the unhealthy puff of a cigarette. Despite education and the vast information being available which just a click away, one chooses to strike and click their fingers on a lighter instead.


While it indeed is an arduous task in battling an overgrown vice, the ‘impossible’ factor certainly isn’t anywhere in the vicinity. All it requires is a tremendous will power equal to that of a firm foundation that holds a sky scrapper with grit and determination.


Imbibing morals from our childhood stories such as the above mentioned one can be a vital learning lesson. Just as the clever pig derives security and safety from its red brick home, one can obtain the same if we develop and build our exteriors with sturdiness instead of being fragile like hay/sticks. Instead of allowing these flaming ‘wolves’ to blow us over, our hindsight should lead such monsters to huff and puff until they go up in smoke.


Such narratives were told and retold as bedtime tales only to drive away the nightmares and be assured of sweet dreams. One should indeed adopt a strong stance to restrain from such nightmares to trespass into our lives in reality. After all we do not want the easy entry of the wild wolves to destroy our homely abodes do we?


Written for www.msn.co.in

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3 Comments:

Blogger Mukundh said...

First, welcome back from the self-imposed brief hiatus.

I was surprised to see that you had written a review for Sivaji (http://whirlwindthoughts.blogspot.com/2007/06/sivaji-truly-boss-of-box-office.html) earlier. Surprising to see it coming from someone not Tamizh. And i appreciate the entry. I remember running for a first day, first show ticket here in PVR Gurgaon.

I am happy that you brought about this 'Socially responsible' piece. It does not surprise me that it wasn't selected as the 'Story of the day'. It doesn't matter anyway. Smokers are everywhere, even in the MSN panel of editors. And we, as human beings, do not like it when someone points out our mistakes.

What is shocking is the fact that smoking has become the order of the day. The stairs in our office (emergency stairs but in no way smoking zones, as people primarily use the lift), are full of cigarette butts. While i take the stairs for the sake of exercise, i end up being shrouded in a cloud of smoke. And researchers say passive smoking kills more than active smoking. Still, are people bothered? They don't care even if it is a public place.

There was an incident when one of my colleagues called me to join him for a smoke in a team party. I told him that i don't smoke. Surprised, he asks me "You graduated from BITS and you don't smoke, Commendable mate". That says it all. In today's world, one that does not smoke is an outcast, someone who cannot socialise well :-(

If your article influences one or two to give up the habit, consider that your success. :-) (That is how i console myself when i have this pessimistic feel that no one cares for a good advice).

Keep writing.

1:42 AM  
Blogger Mukundh said...

And pardon me for this 'blog like' comments. Will try to restrict them from the next time.

1:50 AM  
Blogger Whirlwind said...

Hi Mukundh,

Not at all. Its nice to see your inputs.

Well yes today is a scenario where one has to subscribe to a certain pattern in order to be accepted and 'fit in'. One of the prime reasons of smoking which I've mentioned in the article.It requires a lot of pluck to live life on a different octave from rest of the world. Sometimes the latter stance is important especially when it poses a high degree of risk to ones health or longevity.

Lets hope that the fitness syndrome overrules such vices in the near future.:-)

3:06 AM  

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