The smoker, still hiding behind the rubbish dump, is puffing away. Apart from his lungs, his self-esteem is blackening fast. The news is that on October 2 the already pariah will be made to join the Ebola virus, unwanted and endangered.
Starting this Gandhi Jayanti, the Ministry of Health plans to ensure that public spaces are free from tobacco smoke and digested broccoli fumes. Our smoker’s tense week:
September 19, Friday: I don’t want to be the butt of jokes, but who’s got the ashtray? Oh, the Delhi police has banned the ashtray for national security reasons. My pocket will have to do.
September 20, Saturday: The UN Commissioner of Human Rights has turned down my petition. He agrees that smoking is a choice, but insists that his wife won’t like it if he publicly agrees with me.
September 21, Sunday: I just realised how bad it must be for smokers in colder climates. At least I’m not freezing my butt off in upper Wisconsin.
September 22, Monday: I thought I caught Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss chugging on a pipe. But then, it turned out to be a breathalyser he was testing to ban drivers who breathe too hard.
September 23, Tuesday: My only hope: Big Tobacco! ITC has challenged the Ministry’s decision to ban smoking in offices. The big boys have said that lawyers in their chambers, artists in their studio need to smoke in their ‘offices’. I think I can paint. And write poetry.
September 24, Wednesday: Something just struck me: living kills.
September 25, Thursday: This cell specially made for cigarette-smoking offenders is not as bad as I thought it would be. It has an air purifier and free nicotine patches. But why are there free condoms too?