rupees, it was more than sufficient to eat enough sweets. While eating at the hotel I had noticed small children working twelve to sixteen hours just for food. They are supposed to be studying…. They have to do all the hotel work like cleaning table, moping, washing of dishes and help cooking just because of poverty or just because they ran away from home. Such children have no option left .I think either it is because of their fate (poverty) or because they chose their fate, (They decided to run away from their home). I imagined me in that poor boy…. My conscience told me that I would become one among them if I choose to run away from home. At home I had, food .my father was spending money for my studies .all I had to do is to obey my father and study well to come up in the life…. I had decided not to run away from my home…
Even while I was studying seventh standard I used to sleep next to my parents. That day I tried to sleep separately. My father asked me to sleep next to him. Then he started preaching me…. He told me that Lord Harish Chandra never told lies in his lifetime. He would even give-up his life for telling truth! Father Continued "Even if you tell hundred lies you cannot make wrong into right by telling lies, you will only end up telling more lies. When you tell truth, your conscience is clear. Tell the truth and face the World! (Face the music?). He did not repent but he asked me whether it hurts me or not (may be wanted to make sure.) I told him " No; but I will remember it for the rest of my life ". He taught me one simple lesson in his own way .He might have been a content man. In the dark, I could not see his face. (Later in my life, I found it difficult at times impossible to prove others, that I am telling truth. When you cannot prove that you are telling truth people don't trust you anymore. Now when someone tells you lie by swearing it you will think he/she is telling you truth! You do not suspect him / her. Only to find some other day he had lied to you. If the person happens to be known to you it hurts your feelings but not his/her feelings any more. Times have changed but I still do not tell lies. I did not go to school for two days. With the red stripes, marks on my legs children at school will make fun of me
I had studied at a ‘prestigious’ high school Z.C.H.S in Calicut. Kerala. I was studying eight Th standards, even though I was good at sports and studies; I was influenced by peer pressure. Some of the boys took to L S D, ganja and other boys were having affair with boys! (Homosexuality) some rich boys went to prostitutes! Boys were hardly fifteen years old boys. They want to prove that they are young studs! I was not part of their gang. I was part of the football team. Some of my friends were in the habit of smoking cigarettes. Most of them started smoking in the afternoon lunchtime. At times, they went to bathroom in class hours to have few puffs. In those days, it was fashionable for young boys to imitate our idols or villain from Hindi movies. I tried my best to avoid them but due to peer pressure I too tried few puffs. Only few puffs and I was longing for smoke. By the time I finished smoking one cigarette I was hooked on nicotine. Carving for smoking was too much. I was worried that I will became addicted to smoking .I was scared of being caught but the carving was always there. Most of the days, someone will bring foreign brand cigarettes like Rothmans, Dunhill or Marlboro Packets. They all shared it with others. I saved one cigarette for Sunday after noon.
After the lunch, I lit the cigarette in the kitchen and went to toilet. In olden days toilet was constructed away from house about ten or fifteen feet away. My eldest sister got the scent of the cigarette. When I came back, she told me I can smell cigarette in the air .she asked me to blow the air. I obliged her. "You are only studying eight th standards, now itself you started smoking…I will tell father…" I begged her not to tell my father .I had promised her that I would never smoke. When my father came back, she told my father that I had smoked cigarette.
He took out his thick leather belt and treated me passionately. My mother tried to stop him .she also got some beatings. He went on beating me. Like any other boy at the age of fourteen, I did not run away from the scene. Physical pain I can always bear it but I can be emotionally hurt. I looked down on my thighs. Below the shorts, there were thick red stripes all over my legs. It gave me burning sensation and the pain was unbearable. I did not cry. Treatment ended with swearing ceremony. I did just what I was asked to do and how I was asked to do … The oath of secrecy went something like this. …I had to hold my parent's feet and follow my father’s dialogue. .”I swear that I will never ever smoke in my life time.” After the swearing ceremony he went to kitchen and came back with hot stainless spoon and placed on my left forearm. Burnt skin mark was there for very long years. Now the mark is no more visible but it left a deep wound in my heart .my mother cried for me … I had realized my mistake .I should not have smoked at a young age.
I again went back to big mango tree and started thinking. …"What if I run away from home?” In those days sometime, I ask my mother for money to eat at hotel. Some special sweet, which we do not make it at home .she, gave one or two rupees it was more than sufficient to eat enough sweets. When I sit and eat at the hotel, I had noticed small children were working for hotel .hardly ten or twelve years old, working for twelve or sixteen hours just for food. They are supposed to be studying…. I was not sure whether they do all the hotel work like cleaning table, moping and washing of dishes just because of poverty or just because they ran away from home. Such children have no option left .I think either it is because of their fate (poverty) or because they chose their fate, (They decided to run away from their home). I imagined me in that poor boy…. My conscience told me that I would become one among them if I decided to run away from home. Just for food, I will end up working fourteen to sixteen hours per day. At home, I had food and my father is spending money for my studies .all I had to do is to obey my father and study well to come up in the life…. I had decided not to run away from my home… I did not go to school for two days. With stripe marks on my legs, children in the school will make fun of me.
Late at night when I was sleeping next to my father, he told me something that would have made an impact on any budding smoker. My father's cousin brother was a farmer. They had their own land .he used to smoke Beedies. (Poor man's cigarettes) later stage he had throat cancer .his wife used to feed him liquid food with funnel! Otherwise food will come out through the hole in his throat. After seeing the condition of my uncle, my Grand dad had asked my father to promise not to smoke in his lifetime. My father had promised him and he kept his promise till his death. My father had no bad habits .No drinks; no smoking; no womanizing; no pan; no beetle nut or gambling habits. He was an honest man with clean habits.
Over the years, I became addicted to smoking. Now I have no will power. I have been smoking for the past thirty-five years. Kicking the habit is the greatest challenge in my life. My present state of mind does not permit me to quit smoking. Too much frustration and pent up feelings. Cigarettes helps me to puff away my frustration and pent-up feelings! At present, my life is passing through a turbulent period. I am unable to set a dead line for giving up smoke. To quit smoking I need to keep myself busy for 24X7.After completing my high school in my native place Calicut, Kerala our family shifted to Chennai city. Chennai I had completed my diploma course in A/C & Refrigeration course and started working for five star super deluxe hotels. As a bachelor I enjoyed my freedom with.......