It was Feb 28th 1989. That was the day I said goodbye to a 24 year habit- of smoking
The habit started in 1965 , as a fun. From 1 or 2 cigarettes a day, it slowly went up to 40 a day in late eighties. This was a practice I found very difficult to stop , even after numerous requests from Girija , Sudha and Suba. It is not that I did not know the health hazard it posed, but somehow I could not stop it. I once tried to stop it in 1978 and was not smoking for about 15 days , but it started once again in Nov 1978, when my father in law expired and I had to be awake all thro the night.
Girija used many arguments, like health problems, economic reasons, the bad name it brings in the society, and the adverse effect that it may have on her and the children (by inhaling the smoke). After all these arguments, the only concession I gave her was that I would not smoke in front of children. This I think I could follow to a very great extent.
Then, how could I stop it in 1989 ? 28th Feb 1989 was the budget day. In those days, there used to be heavy taxation on Tobacco products in every budget and consequently, there used to be heavy price increase of Cigarettes immediately after the budget. So, in order to make quick money, the wholesalers and Retailers used to hoard the stock of Cigarettes they have just before the budget. And the customers will find it difficult to get Cigarettes till the fresh price is announced by the manufacturers.
Normally, I used to purchase the cigarettes from a particular shop on the way to the office. Being a regular customer, that shopowner ensured that I got my quota even if the hoarding takes place. But unfortunately ( or fortunately for me in hindsight ), that day he had run out of stock and I went to office with a plan to send the office boy to try in the nearby shops. Again unfortunately ( or fortunately,) the office boy did not come to office that day.
I then had the only option of myself going out to get the cigarettes. But early morning routene jobs at the office prevented me from going out immediately. When I became a bit free , it was 1100 am. I had not smoked for over two hours !! At that moment, I thought that If I could remain without cigarettes for over two hours, why not I try for the whole day ? So I refrained from purchasing cigarettes and spent the whole day in concentrating on work or going around the warehouse ( where smoking is prohibited ).
By the time I came back from office, I had more or less overcome the urge for smoking. So, I decided to continue my decision not to smoke and it continues till this day !!
Initially, I used to get the urge occasionally , esp after a cup of coffee, but I diverted my attention to some other activity and the urge will go away. Fortunately, I did not get into another bad habit like supari in trying to come out from smoking .
Needless to say, Girija and the children were extremely happy on this unexpected development. Incidentally, on a conservative estimate, I would have saved more than Rs 7 lacs in these 20 years,by not smoking.
While I left home for the office that day, I had one cigarette at home. I had it preserved as a momento in my show case for many years. ( I hope it is there somewhere in my house even today )
Coming out of a bad habit is after all the control of the mind.Luckily I got in 1989.
Where there is a will, there is a way.