You must have often heard your parents tell you that they can only stop you from putting your hands in the fire, if you still want to do it; they leave you to learn it the hard way. Come to think of it, it does make sense. If a person wants to deliberately spoil his life, no one can do any thing about it. This is the case of many youngsters who get into smoking and drinking habits. No matter how much other people, be it parents or friends, tell them, they don’t leave it.
People often get into this smoking-drinking-trap, as I put it, with the idea of being ‘cool’. I am sure we all have heard elders say there is nothing ‘cool’ in ruining your life, but let us try to analyze this ‘coolness’ that the youth craves for. What is the effect that smoking has on your personality? Do you think that just because you have a cigarette in your hand, people like you more? It might be so. But don’t you ever wonder how you become ‘cool’ only because of that cigarette? Does it not bother you that, how you are as a person, has no effect on your personality? That cigarette changes you from an outdated, backward person into the ‘kewlest’ person of your group.
Let me narrate the incident involving this girl, who stays in a backward town in Rajasthan. She failed to attain a high percentage in her Boards and therefore had a tough time in getting a seat in one of the leading colleges of Delhi University. This really worried her parents and some how they came and literally begged the authorities to get their daughter admitted, promising them that she will work hard and become an asset to the college. This small town girl enters college and is swept off her feet by the ‘shine and glamour’ of a big, metro city like Delhi. But she has problems ‘fitting in’, so she takes to smoking and drinking in order to prove that she also can be as ‘cool’ as the others. Obviously, her academics suffer and she is not permitted to sit for the university exams. Do you think it is fair to the parents who have put all their savings and worries into their child’s education? Why do they suffer the consequences of their daughter’s mistakes? You might think such a thing is not possible! But this is the story of most of the people to take to smoking and drinking in order to ‘fit in’. Is shortening our lives the only way to gain acceptance? I don’t think so.
I also very strongly feel that smoking and drinking is a form of escapism. When people feel trapped in a problem with no way out, they tend to start smoking and drinking. When they get ‘high’ they find themselves in this illusionary world, free from problems. But whether they like it or not, they have to snap out of their ‘fantasy worlds’ and face reality! When, in any case, you have to face your problems, why shorten your like in the bargain.
I am sure there is an inner voice within all of us which stops us from falling into this life threatening trap. Then why don’t we listen to it? Is it because others don’t too? Do we have to fall into an addiction just to give ourselves that momentary ease but fail to realise that it will be harmful to us in the long run? The whole mindset of today’s youth needs to change. We need to start accepting people as they are, rather than change them. However, before that we need to be proud of who we are. We need to reject ideas of becoming ‘cool’ or ‘in’ at the cost of our lives. We can get rid of this problem only, if we really want to. It is all about will power! And I am sure we can do it!
[image courtesy: http://flickr.com/photos/stephenpougas/2023868442/sizes/m/]