02 October, 2010

On the 2nd Anniversay of the Smoking Ban

Two years ago on this day, ban on smoking indoors was imposed by the Maharashtra government. Then, there was a huge uproar about this, views were expressed in favour and against. Smokers were angry and non-smokers were triumphant.

Today, life has returned to normal. It seems normal to expect clear air in a nightclub, to expect smokers standing in the office corridors bonding over a smoke and coffee, to expect separate smokers rooms, etc.

Here is an fictionalised story of an opinionated gentleman writing on what transpired on 2nd October 2008.

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To Smoke or Not to Smoke
 
Ramanikbhai logs on to his blog. He bangs the keys, patriotism oozing from every pore of his body. The keys taking life of their own and speaking Ramnikbhai’s mind. He writes about how this country for which the great Mahatma fought for has gone to the dogs, he writes about the hindu-muslim divide, he writes about the westernization of the India culture, about short skirts and cigarettes, he writes about alcohol and youngsters, he writes about how he detests people who smoke, especially young women whose main job is to produce babies, he writes about the smoking ban, he writes about how the smokers deserved it – he pours his heart out. What remains of this great ordeal of self expression is a long post on his blog.

He moves away from the computer, stares at the screen with pride, and walks away feeling all important and intelligent. He goes about his day with his head held a little higher.
 
And then the screen takes a life of its own…





Live on screen:
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Comment by Sita on 2nd October 
With all due respect to your hatred for smokers (especially women) Ramnikbhai, I hate the ban. I like to smoke away my worries. And it is my constitutional right to smoke. How much I smoke and where I smoke is no one’s business. Not yours, neither the governments. With this ban, ‘my’ life is being ruled. Not yours.
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Comment by Ramanikbhai on 2nd October 
Sure, then you should go and smoke your worries away somewhere else! Not in my face.
And by the way, research does show that smoking is more harmful for women. Your job is to produce children. Do that and leave the worries and earning to us men. Then, you would not need to smoke anything away.

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Comment by Sita on 2nd October 
I rest my case with you. People like you should be banned on giving opinions. You can live all you want in your small mind. And I shall take all my liberties to smoke in others face, especially in the face of people like you. What more pleasure than to irk small-minded so-called-intelligent people like you!
I smoke a pack a day, but thanks to people like you who stick to the superficial impressions of the culture, I, a girl, cannot smoke in front of my parents or in the middle of the road. With guys like you and the Ram Sene and Shiv Sena and whatnot other sena roaming in the open, I have nowhere to smoke! 

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Comment by Abhijit on 2nd October
Hey look, I am not a part of Ram Sene, Shiv Sena or any other sena. The issue here is ‘smoking’. Because when smokers smoke, along with exercising their freedom, they violate the non smoker’s freedom to ‘not’ smoke. Hence, it is the smoker's complete disrespect for the non smokers around him/her. If you smokers love smoking  so much, why are they killing other people around them in the bargain?
And really, smoking is indeed injurious to health. And its high-time the government takes corrective action against it.

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Comment by Sita on 3rd October
@ Abhijit, if the government indeed thinks that smoking kills, then it should ban the production of cigarettes. Not this diplomatic way of earning goodwill in the society by ‘doing good’ presenting various options of cigarettes to smokers and telling them they can’t smoke!
And what’s the connection with Gandhi Jayanti? To impose a ban on Gandhi jayanti, is the most un-Gandhinian thing to do. Your great Mahatma would not approve of this..!

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Comment by Ramanikbhai on 3rd October
@Sita, there is nothing small-mindned in this. Leaving the women-issue aside (feminists like you too should be banned on expressing their opinions), I hate to inhale secondary smoke. For all you know, I may die before you thanks to all the many people like you smoking in my face everyday!
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Comment by Sita on 3rd October
@ Ramanikbhai, Thanks Ramanikbhai for leaving the women-issue aside. Its better we don’t get there. After all your strong words, we need to only guess your next views.

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Comment by Abhijit on 3rd October
@Sita, yeah, I agree with your point of the connection with Gandhi Jayanti. I don’t know why they combined it with Gandhi Jayanti. Perhaps it was the most un-Gandhian thing to do. Perhaps now they think of him as a kind of a god who we think of on some occasions and try to do something 'good'!
But I do feel that the government banning this is taking away liberties of many smokers. I agree with Sita who is a smoker but she would happily quit if cigarettes are banned completely.
Remember Voltaire who said "I may disagree with you, but I will give my life to defend your right to your opinion"!

3 comments:

  1. I really liked the construction...but I didn't get how Ramanikbhai got so subdued while posting comment(initially he seemed quite adamant while posting his blog)

    It's good that there were no typo errors...but while posting comments, we rarely are careful about typos....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, you are right. I should add another set of comments.. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Soumyajit, here I have added some more comments. Do check. :)

    ReplyDelete