Since long, with the onset of every new year I have resolved -and miserably failed - to shun my smoking habit , as not only did it have adverse effect on my health but also burnt large holes in my pocket ,as it would in any person's , earning a modest salary. The first ever cigarette I had was at the Ambala Railway Station , in 1976, while I was going to Dehradun to try my luck to enter as a Commissioned Officer in the IAF. I could not make it , as destiny had other things in store.I did not touch any cigarette for 2-3 years.How I became a smoker is difficult for me to tell. Perhaps it was doston ki dekha dekhi.
I never became a chain smoker but Lady nicotine had nevertheless in due course of time got so much absorbed in my system that it was difficult for me to miss out on an occasional puff. I was so desperate to give up the habit, that once I purchased an interesting book titled " सिगरेट पीना कैसे छोड़ें ", only to rue later on the fact that the amount of Rs.4/- spent could have fetched two packs of my brand at that time.
I am a strong believer in destiny and was destined to leave this decades’ old habit. It so happened that almost three years back, I had a bout of illness, as I tested positive for Hepatitis A- a painless but dreaded disease. Sapped of all energy, with a pale skin ,I was bedridden for two months. In short, had a brush with death or you could say a close shave. This illness proved a blessing in disguise, as I was able to bid adieu to smoking , notwithstanding the fact that I gave sleepless nights to my wife , who had to slog it out for two long months single handed doing all chores ,big and small, for me besides attending to relatives, neighbours and colleagues who came to enquire after my health.
Thankfully this happened before the anti- smoking Act coming into force, otherwise, there could be some embarrassing moments , waiting !