They may not be as organised as their peers running pro-smoking movements in the US and Europe, but there are plenty of lovers of sutta (read: cigarettes) both in New Delhi and Mumbai, who are fuming over the ban on lighting up.
But there are conformists too, who are thanking Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss for ensuring clean air.
However, it seems smokers are more vocal among the youth in the two metropolises. “Obviously we are pissed. We don’t smoke at home in front of our parents,” said Nisha Raman (name changed), a first year student from Delhi’s Indraprastha University.
But some of her friends were quick to betray her. “What a relief for us non-smokers. We hope this step brings in discipline among smokers,” said Pratyush Singh (name changed).
“This is not fair. Banning smoking in bars will really reduce the party pleasure,” said an IIT-Bombay student, who is one of the 1,200-odd members of a Facebook group named after a famous number by Pakistani band Zeest, For the love of Sutta Na Mila.
His classmate Dinesh Verma (name changed) felt more strongly, “It is my choice to smoke, ruin my health. How can the government decide what’s good or bad for me?” Twenty-five-year-old copywriter Vladimir Kapoor of Mumbai, said, “I love smoking, but it will give me a push to quit.”
Against the ban are, naturally, Delhi’s restaurateurs. “Our business survives on hookah. We will have a tough time attracting business now,” said Binoy Barua of Café Brown Sugar in Defence Colony.