The boy was scared of smoke, irrespective of its origin. He sweated on his birthday as the candles spewed smoke as he blew them out, besides wishing for a guitar he also made an extra wish, he wished for the smoke to disappear as he opened his eyes.
He went numb in the movie theatre as he saw his favourite agent 007, blowing off the smoke from his gun’s nozzle as he shot a henchman.
He held his mother’s hand firmly when the fog machine spewed smoke when his classmates danced Bharatnatyam, at his school’s annual function.
He was normal like any other kid, yet he was teased by his friends for his weird behaviour.
One fine day he took his father’s laptop and googled, ‘fear of smoke’, Capnophobia and Fumiphobia was what Google answered back.
Deep inside he wished, What if dad also had these phobias? What if dad didn’t bought those cigarette packets at all?
He was afraid to see his father, who is now bedridden in the bedroom for about three months. He couldn’t believe that was his father, how a man with thick beard and hair could become an insane amalgamation of Lord Voldemort and The Joker?
Yes, his father was under chemotherapy, and had mild amputations which included a nasal amputation and his cheeks cut through to his ears, much like the crown prince of Gotham’s crime syndicate. “Mouth cancer” was what the doctors explained.
His mother always lied to him, “If you do your homeworks, behave like a good kid and pray to God…father would be alright again.” He knew mother hid her tears as she spoke those words but that little kid couldn’t hide his.
His best friend is now fighting death and all because his best friend befriended smoke.
One year later, they were stacking wood on Voldemort and joker as the little kid watched in despair. Mother would no longer wear those colourful sarees that he admired. The kid is perhaps dead now, it’s time for a man to be born, he has stopped crying perhaps his tear glands dried up. He approached the pyre and did all the rituals that the pandit asked him to do which finally culminated by burning the corpse.
He cried for the final time as he saw his nemesis, ‘the smoke’ win again and this time taking his only friend, philosopher and guide as a trophy. Hence what started with smoke ended with smoke as well.
Perhaps there is more reality to this story than fiction. Many say that smoking is on the decline, but many of us are still lighting up. Though there is no physiological need for smoking most of the youth today just do it to look ‘cool’.
We are well aware with the ill-effects of tobacco and what it can do to our bodies and to others and perhaps it just takes a little courage and self control to stop smoking and evade death, maybe by a few years.
As I believe, none of us would like to leave our future generation in a fashion by which the kid’s father did in my story.
When all of us are trying to create a better future, quitting tobacco consumption in any form should be a noble contribution to that cause.
A #WorldNoTobaccoDay initiative