“Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it hundreds of times.” Pointing out Mark Twain’s quote Harish asked, “Hey Vivek, Can you do it man? Are you serious? Or are you a follower of Mark Twain?” Shaking his head in disagreement, Vivek said “That is rubbish man… it’s all a matter of mind control and attitude…” Vivek thinks that his mind is always in his control. Vivek is a final year engineering student in CET and the leading guitarist in “Crackers” a band in CET. His interest was not as much in studies as in girls. And prominently he is a chain smoker. “Ouch” screamed Vivek as the cigarette burnt the end of his finger. He was glued to the newspaper reading about the indo-srilankan cricket match which had been withdrawn due to the bad pitch. He forgot about the cigarette in his hand as it had always been a part of him just like his friends used to say. After washing his hands under the tap, to relieve the pain, he lit another one from the packet.
“Hey, are you sure you can quit smoking?” Harish asked eyeing the newly lit cigarette. After taking a deep breath loaded with Nicotine and tar, Vivek replied, “Look man… it’s my New year resolution! And that is tomorrow. I will take the last puff and say goodbye my cigarette at sharp 11:59PM. It’s my decision, harder than a rock” Harish wondered about his confidence and was hoping his friend would be able to stick to his new year resolution.. There is a reason for his hope. Vivek is the only active smoker in the room, the remaining are all passive smokers. When Vivek is in a room, it’s like a cloudy sky with smoke all around. He never lends his ear for complaints. His helping mentality and love towards his fellow roommates made them tolerate his bad behavior. Some friends tried to advice him, but it was all in vain.
Vivek has been a regular smoker for the last 4 years. When he joined college, he began smoking for fun, but slowly it began to accompany him during tensions and enjoyments and soon enough became his good friend.
“Hey, why do you think he has suddenly decided to quit smoking? Can he really do it? Can he really make this sacrifice?” Harish just murmured in Vinay’s ear… “I really don’t know man… may be one of his girlfriends asked him to do this!! Who knows..? Anyway it is great news for us. God please help him stick with his decision …”, looking at Lord Rama’s photo, hanging on the wall, Vinay prayed.
Until evening no one except Harish returned to the room.He is the only guy in the room who is having a job. He was tired after a long day in front of the computer. A headache forced him to return early from the office to get a nap. Tomorrow will bring the sunshine of the New Year. He knew that everyone except him were in a hurry to find out ways to celebrate the new year. Meanwhile he thought about the Vivek’s vow and got excited. He called vivek to remind him about the resolution before he drowns in the ocean of his dreams.
An explosive sound roused him from his slumber. “What was that? “Harish asked rubbing his eyes wondering if this was a dream. “Happy New Year ..!!!! “ Harish was surrounded by his friends who were screaming and bursting balloons to welcome the New Year. Everyone was hugging each other to wish the New Year. Harish completely forgot about his sleep and joined his friends to welcome the New Year.
“Hey wait a minute, where is our hero?” searching for Vivek among his friends, Harish shouted “Guys.. this is the moment of sacrifice. Vivek is quitting smoking. aha… it is 12:03AM now… by now, he is a new man.. but where the heck is he..?” Scanning the crowded area, Harish was shouting for Vivek. “Vivek is upstairs..” somebody screamed. Harish rushed up the stairs to the terrace in excitement. While climbing the last few stairs, he stopped. He could hear the furious voice of Vivek … “for the last 10 minutes I was continuously trying to call you…the network was jammed… what..? who..? break up..? shit… but what did I do…? Hey… wait…!!” Seeing Harish, Vivek said “She’s mad … she broke up with me.. she didn’t even wish me… I think she saw me last week with Geethu at the theatre… damn…. I cannot believe she left me… let her go to hell…!!” Harish stood motionless, stunned not by Viveks “blah blah” but by seeing a cigarette still burning in his hands. “What…!?” After taking yet another puff Vivek caught Harish’s stare. After a minute’s eye contact Vivek got the point… “Oh… my gosh……!!! shit… shit..crap… what the hell did I do… damn my memory.. I smoked in this New Year too…? Shit… I .. I was thinking about it a few minutes ago. I don’t know how it slipped my mind“ Harish wanted to agree with this. On the floor lay six empty cigarette packs and hills made of cigarette butts and ashes… indicating his last night with cigarettes., He smoked that much almost continuously and at last he forgot to take the last puff before the New Year …. “It’s not too late man… you can quit now..” Harish advised. “No… it was my resolution for this year… but I failed …. But I won’t give up man… I will quit smoking next year if I am not dead…. It’s my resolution now…… I will prove it next year…” Vivek sounded like a popular politician… Harish was silent…his head hung down in disappointment as he turned and walked back toward his room …
“Mark Twain is hundred times better than Vivek… because he had quit smoking hundreds of times.. but Vivek couldn’t quit even once…” Harish mumbled to himself before falling asleep…