A Puff, curiously enough; Memoirs of an underage smoker!
An icy and chilly day of December 1980s at “Booni Jeep Stand”;
the temperature was freezing and
cold wind was piercing our bodies like dagger penetrating soft
tissues. Suddenly a green Jeep whiz passed me and dropped something
on the ground. I rushed towards the object, like a hyena cub out of
curiosity runs after flying beetle. Within few seconds, I reached
the spot and saw a sparkling smoke- emitting thing on the road.
Without delay I scooped at it, like a “Kingfisher” taking a deep
plunge into sea to catch a fish. To my surprise, it was a freshly
disposed off piece of cigarette. Hit by curiosity, I took it into
my tiny mouth (It was tiny that time) and try to inhale in tiny
gasps. As soon as first puff entered my lungs, I heard and felt a
very powerful ear piercing bomb blast; an explosion, depriving me
of my hearing capacity, making me unconscious for few seconds, and
then knocking me down to the ground. I thought I was hit by a
speedy truck or by an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade). After gaining
conscious I saw a blurred faced man with an angry voice
reprimanding me harshly.
In the next moment when the twinkling stars before my eyes and
cobwebs from my mind got cleared; I saw papa grinding his teeth in
crushing the piece of half- smoked -cigarette under his pointed
shoes and scolding me
At that very moment I realized the whole bomb blast scene in
action-re-play and slow-motion. It wasn't an explosion, but Papa’s
powerful slap on my ear-lobe; I didn't land on the ground due to
the high intensity blast, but his bone crashing kicks had knocked
me down. After inflicting“Physical remand”, I was taken into
custody and the Judicial Remand started.Like
a convict in a witness box; I stood there and Papa like plaintiff
bombarded me with his nerve breaking questions.Within few minutes a
dialogue, a heated debate, started between me and my father in the
Papa: Who told you to smoke cigarettes?
Me: “I wasn't smoking, just put it into my mouth.”
Papa: “Who gave you this piece of Cancer?
Me: “It’s just a cigarette, found on the road.
Papa with a reddened face at the peak of anger twisting my ear with
full force replied.
“How dare you reasoning with me”.
Bursting into tears I replied why don’t you go and imprint the same
slaps on the faces of people smoking on the road?
Without a break putting his hand on my mouth to stop more
questions, Papa replied in one breath. First they are not my
children; secondly, I can't exercise my authority on them, thirdly,
people on roads and streets would indulge in so many indecent
activities would you follow them?
“Tomorrow they will strip naked and run on the road would you
follow their footsteps? “Say and promise that I will never smoke
and will not copy such people again.
I as an obedient child, promised him, not to smoke throughout my
life. With these concluding remarks, he took out his
blue color handkerchief, with his kind hands wiped my tears and put
a chocolate named "Jubilee" on my hand (A prized item for kids that
time). Since that day I have never touched cigarettes, nor let
anyone in the family to smoke.
Faheem Ahmad Chitrali Peshwar.