Smoking and I

GV Rama RaoStarred Page By GV Rama Rao, 8th Mar 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Stopping Smoking

As a youngster I was a goody two shoes, but I picked up the habit of smoking. Fortunately, I managed to control my smoking, and at seventy five, I am still kicking to tell my tale.

Earlier days.

When I was young, tradition in my country demanded one not to smoke before elders or seniors. It was considered disrespectful or an act of defiance. This custom was taken to absurd lengths for people even in their fifties never ventured to smoke before their parents. The ill effects of smoking on one’s health were not of much importance then. Instead, smoking was an option to stay awake late in the night just for studies.

Younger days

As a youngster, I was a goody two shoes and never thought of smoking. During my college days, I used to watch films in which heroes smoked cigarettes and looked stylish. The rich and pompous characters in the movies smoked long cigars. These scenes enticed me to pick up smoking and put on a show of style. I was particularly impressed by Clark Gable smoking a cigarette and his mustache. Although I took to his mustache, I stayed away from the lure of smoking. My meager pocket allowance did not allow me the luxury of smoking. Gregory Peck looked handsome and dashing with a cigarette in his hand.

After college.

While I was in my first job after college, I studied for a competitive examination which entailed burning the midnight oil. During this period of intensive study, I took to smoking. Since my hard work paid respectable dividend, I could easily afford to smoke an expensive brand of cigarettes. By then, I started enjoying smoking. Soon, I took to social drinking,which combined with smoking, produced a synergetic effect of enjoyment and social networking. Holding a scotch in one hand and a cigarette in the other is my concept of bliss even now. I enjoyed smoking a pipe and cigars for a few years. In those days, Clint Eastwood with stubble and a stub of cigar looked the epitome of toughness. Despite the immense pleasure I derived, I smoked in moderation and never before my parents.

After marriage.

My wife had seen me enjoying smoking while I was courting her and had not expressed her aversion to it. However, I used mouthwash and mouth fresheners before going to bed. My wife appreciated my gesture and never said a word about my smoking. Knowing my taste, she used to bring my favorite drink and cigarette pack before seeking any favor or persuading me to do something according to her wishes. Whenever I showed signs of stress or anger or differed with her, she served me a drink and cigarette to soothe my nerves or lower my temper.

Onset of Blood pressure.

My saga of smoking continued happily until the doctor recorded high blood pressure during a periodical check up. In a flash, I threw my cigarette packet and lighter in the dustbin. I had the will power to refrain from smoking for long but always missed it and yearned for a cigarette especially whenever I felt some anxiety or happiness.

Blood pressure, once detected, needs lifelong medication. Fortunately, I could keep the dreaded pressure under control with regular intake of a pill in the morning. The situation at home changed as my wife had hidden all material connected with smoking away lest the addiction reared its ugly head again.

When the doctor assured the blood pressure was under control, I resumed smoking but restricted to less than five sticks per day. I learned to check my blood pressure and kept a weekly record. I also checked my lungs periodically for any signs of congestion. By then the government has declared smoking was injurious to health and all magazines started screaming in bold headlines the increased risk of cancer for users of tobacco. Around this time I took to writing, and smoking provided a boost to my passion to write.I also read that many best authors I wanted to emulate were either alcoholics or heavy smokers. Weighing the chances of cancer against the pleasure of smoking and writing, I walked on a thin line smoking few cigarettes and regular check up of the pressure and condition of my lungs.

Cancer attack

The dreaded cancer finally attacked but chose a wrong target- my wife who never smoked in her life. It could not have been due to passive smoking as I was not a heavy smoker, and I smoked only in my study whenever I was writing. The government has not warned of the danger to the health of one’s spouse due to smoking.

When I lost my wife to cancer after a prolonged battle of two years I lost interest in life and couldn’t care less about my health. In fact, I was ready to sacrifice five minutes of my life, for every cigarette I smoked. Unable to bear the loneliness I relocated to the USA where my two daughters have settled.

My grandchildren.

The scenario changed as smoking inside the house was not possible. The weather outside the house often dampened my desire to smoke. Above all, I did not want to be seen smoking by my grandchildren who had their own ideas about smoking and drinking. One night while I was enjoying a Scotch, my grandson, all of seven years and a second grader, told me with a deadpan face,” Alcohol damages liver grandpa.” I pretended I did not know it until then and made it a point never to drink in his presence. Imagining what his reaction would be for smoking, I wait until my grandchildren leave for school or for playing in the park. My life has taken a full circle as far as smoking is concerned. I didn’t want to be seen smoking by my parents while I was young and now by my grandchildren during the evening of my life. No wonder this thingamajig of life defies any description and rules.
Nowadays, I smoke a couple of cigarettes on weekdays and whenever the young ones are out of the house during the weekends. This gross reduction in smoking also explains why I was unable to restart my writing for the last fifteen months.
I do not wish to go down in the estimate of my grandchildren. Nor I want to give up my writing and the simple pleasure of smoking once in a while. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Conclusion.

In conclusion, I am glad the government of India has made it mandatory to show the warning of injurious effects of health due to smoking and drinking in each movie. I hope this will prevent youngsters from picking up these habits.

Wikinut is the best place to post one's writing.

All pictures except one about my grandchildren are from Google images. Picture of my grandchildren is from my album.
Links to my earlier articles:-

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
8th Mar 2014 (#)

a strong and powerful message here GV...thank you. My husband died at 40 of a heart attack...he smoked a lot!

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
9th Mar 2014 (#)

My dear crwriter,
I'm sorry to note that. When I was young there was no consciousness of the likelihood of cancer due to smoking. Today the media conveys the message repeatedly, yet youngsters pick up smoking.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
9th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks for this share GVR. I am reminded of my friend told by his young son unequivocally to quit smoking. When he was caught taking a puff, his son, a non-smoker, lit up a cigarette to drive home the message. The father had to plead with his son not to start this habit and eventually controlled his cravings! siva

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
9th Mar 2014 (#)

My dear Siva,
During the years when I was young, it was fashionable to smoke. Smoking and caner were not linked as yet.
Secondly, nowadays the youngsters teach the older generation many a thing.

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
9th Mar 2014 (#)

My father used to smoke cigarettes, beedies, cigars, and even tobacco leaf directly.

I tried smoking, but never liked the tobacco smell, so never succeeded.

And I always had an ill-feeling about smokers and smoking.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
9th Mar 2014 (#)

My dear Rathnasikhamani,
Thanks for your visit and comment. But why ill feeling about smokers? All of us have some fault or other.

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
14th Mar 2014 (#)

I agree, I should not have such ill feelings.
Yes, everyone has some weakness or fault.

Here onward, I'm correcting myself, and I shall not feel bad about others.

Thanks and I've realized it.

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author avatar M G Singh
9th Mar 2014 (#)

Nice post GV. I never smoked

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
9th Mar 2014 (#)

My dear Madan,
Thanks for your visit and comment. You're lucky.

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author avatar Songbird B
9th Mar 2014 (#)

Having watched my mother and father both die from smoking related diseases, I found it easy to be a non-smoker.. I think youngsters are so aware of the dangers of alcohol and cigarettes nowadays..Like all things I guess, in moderation and as long as you control it and it doesn't control you. Good to see you writing my friend. \0/xxx

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author avatar Carol
9th Mar 2014 (#)

What an honest man you are to share this with us Rama. I am so sorry you .lost your wife, but pleased that you have the company of your grandchildren. I can understand you want to set them an example, and it sounds like you have everything under control. W"ell done!

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
9th Mar 2014 (#)

My dear Songbird B,
Many thanks for your visit and comment.

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author avatar Kingwell
9th Mar 2014 (#)

I enjoyed your post very much. I smoked when I was young as well and as you say it was not associated as being bad for your health back then. I am 74 now and haven't smoked in over 20 years. It is good that many of today's young people are not taking up smoking.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
17th Mar 2014 (#)

My dear Kingwell,
Thanks for your visit and comment.

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author avatar Teila
9th Mar 2014 (#)

Power post that takes us back to when smoking was cool and up to the reality of how much damage it does cause. Thanks for posting.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
17th Mar 2014 (#)

My dear Tella,
Thanks for your visit and comment.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
10th Mar 2014 (#)

NIce post!

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
10th Mar 2014 (#)

Many thanks for your visit and comment.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
10th Mar 2014 (#)

My dear Teila,
Many thanks for your visit and appreciation.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
10th Mar 2014 (#)

Honest post...both my parents smoked when I was a child... and I hated the smell...never have to this day ever tried one because of that...it was a different world then... I admire your not wanting the grandkids to pick up the habit...and your efforts to make sure they do not...thanks GV

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
10th Mar 2014 (#)

My dear Delicia,
Many thanks for your visit and comment.

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author avatar n.c.radomes
6th Jul 2014 (#)

Very timely piece. The smoking monkey had likewise ride in my back for 40 years but glad I was able to shake it off. Kudos!

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
7th Jul 2014 (#)

My dear n.c.radomes,
Welcome to my pages and thanks for your comment.

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author avatar Rose*
24th Nov 2014 (#)

Hollywood has a lot to answer for, I suppose in a way those movies were functioning as adverts for smoking

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
24th Nov 2014 (#)

My dear Rose,
Welcome to my pages and thanks for your comment.

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author avatar vickylass
20th Mar 2015 (#)

As I always say smoking as any other habits isn't the healthiest thing. It's a lot healthier for anyone to have a job for a living, a home to live in, education or a good national health system that will provide for anyone regardless of their income and when need be, but by the looks of the present situation isn't like this. The unemployed and the homeless are growing every passing day. Governments implement harsh cuts on the name of saving on those things that people need most (education, health or social services) and the ones that need them are the less favoured to put it blandly. Their policies on such issues as smoking (or eating healthy) are pure hipocresy. They use these issues to blind us as regards the most serious issues.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
20th Mar 2015 (#)

My dear Vickylass,
I cannot dispute what you wrote, but my piece is purely autobiographical. I didn't make any statements about government policies.

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