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Why? What do you get out of it? Don’t you know smoking is injurious to health? Do you want to compete with men? The last question irked me so much that I could not control my emotion and protest blatantly, “I love to smoke that’s why! What do you get asking these silly questions?” Yes, I am a smoker and I will smoke until the companies were banned from selling cigarettes anymore. I will not quit on my doctor’s insistence or my parent’s emotional blackmail.

The pungent and bitter taste of a cigarette is my friend! I accepted a familiar and an affable smell from childhood and gifted myself an overpriced cigarette when getting the first salary. I smoked earlier taking ‘counters’ from my friends. But, buying your puff will give an immeasurable satisfaction. Soon, the news reached my parents and they were waiting for me with their emotional machine guns. The questions are like, who taught you to smoke? What do you want to prove with this? Don’t you have anything to learn from ‘men’ apart from smoking? And the last one was what would the neighbors think? As I don’t have any bigger cause to lead, my simple desire trashed to the corner.

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I remember one instance when walking down the road with two colleagues, one of them offered me a cigarette. I told him politely not to light it in this public place as they will stare to a woman smoker. My colleagues mocked me saying, “What happened? The great revolution suddenly shattered due to strangers?” It is impossible for a woman to make anyone understand that cigarettes are sold to smoke and anyone can buy one to relax after a tiresome meeting. Smoking causes cancer, but I will continue smoking until my body refuses not to.

Cut to another incident. In between a movie interval, a girl walked towards me and asked very shyly, “do you have a cigarette?” and we end up smoking in counters. We had the same agenda of finding some peace in a white draped sleek lady, a cigarette. After America, India is holding the 2nd position for having women smokers and we can guarantee that we don’t want to prove anything to the world. It’s a common bad habit that we possess and don’t want to prove any statement against chauvinism. I am happy in my balcony lighting the last cigarette and having some quiet time to think and rejuvenate. Tapping my fingers against the railing, a cigarette becomes the only companion in my lonely nights.

Nobody is ready to understand that we know smoking tobacco is not good. But a lot of other things aren’t good. Drinking is not good. Some would say milk is not good. Let us decide when we want to quit smoking as we love our body and know exactly when to stop.