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Every breath you take...

The Health Nazis and Fitness Fascists may have stopped me from having my daily packs of smoke. But they haven’t won. All they’ve done is give me the right to talk about things as they are, writes Kushalrani Gulab.

india Updated: Oct 06, 2008 21:51 IST
Kushalrani Gulab

As a two-pack a day person who likes nothing better than a smoke (or 12) when I have a drink (or six), it may surprise you to learn that I heartily approve of the Hon’ble Minister of Health Anbumani Ramadoss’s initiative to ban smoking in all public spaces, including the pub where I hang out.

True, for a while there — specifically on October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s happy birthday — my thoughts did veer from their usual peaceful course into channels that would have made even a Gestapo-type quiver. And true, the air around me on the same day was kind of blue — not with smoke, since that’s banned — but with words that definitely should not be heard in public spaces. But back home, when I struck my first blow for freedom (i.e. struck my first match), I found a bright side to this situation.

The bright side being this. The self-righteous Health Nazis and Fitness Fascists may have stopped me from having my fun. But they haven’t won. All they’ve done is give me the right, now, to shove aside all hypocrisy, and also talk about things as they are.

And here are things as they are. The self-righteous health nazis and fitness fascists may have the most spotless lungs in the whole world. But they’ll still die (and fat lot of use those spotless lungs will be when they’re in the crematorium).

They may eat nothing but green leafy vegetables, sprouts and other ascetic forms of herbage till they’re so full of vegetable nutrients that they can be planted in a field and left to propagate by themselves. But they’ll still die. They may run 10 km and then work out for two hours in a gym so they can announce that 40 is the new 14. It doesn’t matter. They’ll still die. Death is a fact of life, no matter what they do.

Think this is juvenile? Well, what else can I be but juvenile now that I live in a nanny state? Or rather, a nanny city since, as the Supreme Court announced the other day, the rural healthcare infrastructure has collapsed and needs a nanny itself. But that’s okay, apparently, because as far as the Hon’ble Minister of Health seems to be concerned, when it comes to the poor, let them eat gutkha.

Since, as a two-pack a day smoker, I’m in no condition to state that 40 is the new 14, I find that I’m out of practice at being juvenile. So last night I scanned my bookshelves and picked Richard Armour’s Through Darkest Adolescence: With Tongue in Cheek and Pen in Checkbook for a refresher course. It’s a hysterically funny book, covering such subjects as clothes, shopping, looks, cars, parties, sex and smoking, and though it’s somewhat outdated (it was written in the ’60s), it’s extremely helpful for people who’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a youthful rebel.

Not recommended for Health Nazis and Fitness Fascists however. The strain of trying to find anything fun may kill them.