Thank You Mr. Ramadoss!

I have been trying to make my father quit smoking ever since I can recall. Same goes for my friends, battling with their respective family members. This ongoing battle has witnessed the use of several tactics – be it from pleading and begging, to violent outburst and even to detailed explanations about the hazards of smoking and the ‘grotesque’ things it can do to your lungs and other organs.

But as all those of you, who have shared the same mentally exhausting sessions with any of your smoking addict acquaintances, you will definitely know that trying to make an addict quit smoking is like attempting to push Mt. Everest with your bare hands!

Hence, when our Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Mr. Anbumani Ramadoss, came up with the ‘anti-smoking’ all India campaign, it was like a new ray of hope for several of us such people. Concerned families saw a possible new beginning and reformation. But believe me, the smirk and indifferent air in the smokers of the world (I mean country!), did not wear off. With their continued defiance, they proudly declared that none had achieved to stop them before, and no ‘michaelaal’ (no offence Mr. Ramadoss!), could stop them in the future. So good luck to all hopefuls, try all you can while we shall continue to proudly burn away health, and wealth!

Personally too, I did not see a successful future to this campaign (personal experience had taught me this!) Smokers would continue to smoke, if not openly, but definitely discreetly. Fact is the smokers would continue to kill themselves and the ones around them.

But a few days ago, I astonishingly witnessed a success to this campaign. On our outing to see a movie with another family, me and my friend’s fathers were stopped at the cinema counter and asked to deposit their cigarette packs there itself. We could see our irritated and frustrated dads trying to argue with the authorities, but of course, who can argue much when you have a bulky looking, black cat commando, with a rifle standing next to you!

So naturally, our fathers could not have their customary smoke during the intermission, to the utter delight of me and my friend, who had been passing ‘we-are-glad-as-you-deserve-this’ smirks to our disgruntled fathers ever since! However when the movie ended, our fathers were longing to get back their packs and smoke. Unfortunately for them, the exit opened 3 stories below!! They were zapped! They spent the next ten minutes trying to figure out the mall planning and a short route to go back up. However, the only way back was the main entrance, right up to the 4rth floor, which was definitely, they concluded, too much of an effort. Thus finally, the extremely frustrated and disappointed men gave up on their beloved cigarettes and we returned home, triumphant, thanks to Mr. Ramadoss’s strict check and the malls weird planning!

Hence, from that day onward, the anti smoking campaign has assumed a new significance for me. It has actually made me hope for a better future and more disgruntled, deprived smokers on the streets. Because it is a fact, what love and pleadings can’t do, fear of being publicly checked and embarrassed; certainly can. So even though it might take years to stop our dads and other loved ones from quitting smoking, I am certainly glad for that one cigarette that couldn’t harm them on that one day. Thus, all I can say is thank you Mr. Ramadoss! (and looking forward to your alcohol sale regulation too!)

Mallika Parmar

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