I don’t smoke.
It’s my choice.
It was just another normal day in NITR when I was in Hexagon, awaiting my food. Yes, I’ve seen IITs, their Brewberry, their Dominos, their CCD and their “every-other-notable-eatery-we-lament-on”. But I am fond of Hexagon all the same. The trees surrounding it which often try to hold on to their leaves in every season, the better part of NITR populace jostling in and around the gate and the “Scholars” avenue (sparing the mosquitoes during Summer) make it as beautiful to me as anything else, like a small cottage amidst shallow woods, but connected to the crowd in symphony.
A group came by, just a normal group. Only, changing the entire aura of the place. Shouting, taunting just like we do only with a voice that was twenty times amplified turning everyone’s attention to them. Shouting at the little kid who works there (in spite of the hundreds of essays they must have written in their school exams on Child Labour. I am no exception to this, me along with those hundreds of people who just keep seeing that little kid work and well, that’s it. We all just keep looking). And then, they started smoking. Passing on the cigarette to each one in their group. The same thing happened again. Everyone just cast a look, and that was it. I had to finish off my food, feeling uncomfortable and suppressing my urge to leave the place immediately.
I’m not interested in listing out the pros (I still don’t find any) and cons of smoking, or the dangers of passive smoking. We all know that. What I am interested in is letting “us” know that no one has a problem with anyone smoking, but we all have a problem with someone smoking “publicly”. We don’t want to be forcefully made to do something I never wanted to. We don’t want to hear “SO?’ when we ask someone in a public place not to smoke, and the public place being LA. We don’t want to walk around the lanes with someone smoking amongst the crowd. NIT has a campus of around 600 acres, maybe much more than that. And, for all we know, you definitely don’t need to be Hercules in finding an isolated place to smoke. Everyone has their choice. When you’re smoking stoically in a public place, you never know if someone around suffers from Asthma or any other health issue. Well, you don’t specifically need to too. It is not only about health issues. It is all about involuntarily being made to do something just because few people think it does not matter.
It matters. And passive smoking may not be that detrimental but it sure enough is uncomfortable. We are just pitching in our rights to stand by what we don’t want around us. We all have freedom of expression, but that statement is relative and never absolute. As responsible youngsters, we are smart enough to understand that.
It’s your choice to decide for yourself but it’s never your choice to decide for others. It’s theirs.
Some of you may smile after reading this, some of you may whine and some of you will definitely laugh at the apparent inability to keep up with the pace of society. Maybe it is a lost cause but you can always give it a try.
If this still seems not-worth-an-effort, it’s your choice.
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