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Monday, 4 February 2013

7th Anniversary!!

She opened the bathroom door with a soft knock. It was dark inside, the only light coming from the lamp in their bedroom. He was sitting there on the bathtub rim, lost in thought, cigar smoke swirling all around him. Sensing her presence he looks up and smiles. But the smile falters, seeing her upset, because he's AGAIN sitting up late in the night SMOKING.
"This is the last one, I'm going to quit. No more cigars from tomorrow.", he says.
She rolls her eyes in anger, which then gives way to a resigned look. She's been hearing it on and off since they got married. 10 years of marriage and 3 beautiful daughters later the story is still the same. The resolve usually lasts only for a day. And he sits idle that entire day. To do anything worthwhile, he needs a puff.

He follows her into the bedroom, turns her around and repeats his promise earnestly. And like all the other times, hands her the remaining packet and lighter asking her to destroy it. She takes out her anger on the cigars, shredding each and every single one to bits. He looks on, feeling guilty. But she knows that his guilt has a vanishing quality, come daylight.

Some evenings when together in the garden she used to say, "I can make a life size model of the leaning tower of Pisa using all the stubs you've tossed into the garden". It irritated him, but he kept quite, because she wasn't very far from the truth. He smoke close to 40 cigars a day, an almost chain smoker. And on days when they had project deadlines to meet, she often had to put up with passive smoking, it was like sitting with your head in a cloud.

When he had attempted quitting as part of the new year resolution, she had backed him. She'd gone out and bought Nicotinell gum, to help quit smoking. The kids had been excited. But two frustrating days later he had gone back to his old ways. A month later he makes the same claim and she hadn't expected anything much different to happen this time either.

Their house was littered with cigar lighters, the bathroom, kitchen, window sills, garden, porch, in the car, at office, everywhere. He seemed to buy one almost every other day, which vexed her to no end.
The next morning she goes around collecting all these and dumping them in the garbage bin, just out of spite. He wakes up and the usual drama, that ensues his pledge come morning, is reenacted. He's going through all the usual places looking for that last cigar just to get a puff. He tells her that she shouldn't have destroyed those cigars so fatally, at which she gives a, "I knew this was coming" snort. He goes out to the grocery and buys a single cigar, instead of a packet. She never had any faith to start with, but now it was a hopeless case.
But, wonder of wonders, he contemplates the cigar for a long time and then throws it off without lighting it. And reaches out for the Nicotinell gum instead.

You're supposed to chew on the gum every now and then, and not continuously. But the 2nd day he was so worked up, he kept chewing the thing and nearly fainted, from too much nicotine in the blood. He lost his temper unreasonably. People at the office  were already scared of their bosses short temper, now they avoided him like the plague.

Her happiness knew no bounds. She continued to remain patient and supported him. Putting up with the temper tantrums and unreasonable demands. It was a family struggle now. The kids lavished their love on him. At the end of a month they even had a celebration. The biggest reward was the changes that started coming about in him. His fingers and lips regained their actual colour. He had an appetite which had otherwise been non existent. He gained a few kilos and looked healthy, and not like some lethargic sack of bones. And the biggest benefit, no bouts of coughing. That actually stopped from week 1 itself.

There are days when she has nightmares, where she sees him with a cigar between his lips. Thinking back to those days, a smile involuntarily crosses her face. There are candid moments when at a traffic signal or something, he points to some guy pulling on his cigar and says, "You know how much he is enjoying himself", and that starts to scare her. They've come a long way now. Today they are celebrating the 7th anniversary of his successful No Smoking Resolution.

That saying, "If there is a will, there is a way" is so simply true. :D