JournalismPakistan.com December 30, 2015
Come Thursday and several of us will be engaging in that odd ritual called making a New Year resolution. I have no clue how it all came to be and whose devilish idea it was but inevitably we will come across the most annoying individual in this sport and that’s the ‘giving up smoking at midnight’ guy. You cannot avoid this tribe regardless of where you are. They pop up like whack-a -moles.
Giving up, he’ll say, even as he is chain smoking, this is the last evening and then it’s done and dusted, stroke of midnight and no more ciggies.
Good for you, you’ll reply as he lights a fresh cigarette from the stub of the old one, a cloud of smoke hanging over his head. For some quaint reason this saga in self control becomes the central point of conversation and we were supposed to be having fun.
Folks will begin to relate stories of those who gave up cold turkey, used to smoke 30 and then one day, that’s it, never again. And now half a dozen people are one upping each other with epic narrations of their battles with nicotine. Why would you think we would find this fascinating conversation?
And we paid for this party, good money, too. Reformed smokers are a pain in the neck. About to be reformed smokers on New Year’s eve are a tribe apart.
Last one, he’ll say, inhaling deeply and pouring an obnoxious plume into your face, even as normally sensible level headed couples begin to ginger up for the countdown and begin to leap around as they do the Scottish Reel or kick their heels and yell Aul Lang Syne in what has become de rigeur as an expression of joy.
And now we are into that ‘love a stranger’ first half hour of the New Year and our freshly minted non-smoker is holding court, his fingers drumming a tattoo in nervous energy, the ceremoniously crushed packet testament to his determination.
See, he says, triumphantly, no problem, don’t need it. Hear the drums Fernando and the celestial music. His wife looks at her hero with devotion dripping like rainwater from a spaniel. One thing he has, she says, like she was proclaiming an amendment to the Constitution, is will power. Everyone nods in agreement and offers that wow look.
It is 12.16, not exactly an era in the smokeless time frame. By 1am as couples now having exhausted their year’s supply of goodwill are getting into arguments over each other’s conduct our friend has moved from drumming fingers to a picture of deprived agony.
You know what, he says in a whisper, now that I know I can kick it, I think I’ll take a puff, for old time's sake.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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