Before wondering about the title, let me clarify that I'm the unlucky owner of that one. First of all it doesn't make any sense to me. After all everyone smokes in public. In that case theres not much of a private place to smoke either (except the Toilets in few cases). So every place a person smokes becomes public. Well, let me not dig into it much.
So what did I do to get this title. Well not much. Its a small incidence with a little Stupidity and a lot of Misfortune. And the story goes like dis.....
It was another normal morning for me, as I always feel while waking up. It was 10 a.m. Little bit early than my routine which has my day starting at 11 or 11:30 a.m. I shook my head and told myself, "Yet another day without BF(Break Fast)". Then like a sheep that follows the herd, I went and eased my pressure, brushed my teeth, washed my face and I headed towards my Misfortune.
There began my last day of the year(it was 31st Dec 2009). I asked my roomie if he would accompany me, which he, well., rather unwillingly refused. Then I went in search of my Partner-in-Crime. When I couldn't find him, decided to go all by myself. So I came out of hostel, drew 300Rs from the ATM and went there.
Enter "THE HORIZON"..
Enough with the build-up I think. It was the same Tea stall that we went everyday, lot of times a day. Like Rajini's dialog, we had only one sentence to say, "Anna, eradu half tea, eradu Kings"(Bro, 2 half tea 2 Kings), which on that day became "Anna ondu half tea"(Bro, one half tea), then thought of getting the King(for all those Innocent souls who do not know whats d King here, its a brand of cigarette) later. He gave the tea a little late than usual, then came d remaining part of the dialog, "Anna ond King"(Bro one King). Lit my King, took a puff and let the smoke out after giving it a round trip of my mouth, throat, bronchus n lungs. And then told myself, "No.727". Ya it was my 727th cig, and I counted them without even knowing why I did so.
Then came all d thoughts, staring at our hostel walls without even blinking. The 1st thought, "5 over, still 1 to go"(I had my last exam on 2nd Jan). Then wondered when should I start studying, From the afternoon..? No way. I'm not a geek. Afternoons are for sleeping. But evenings are for facebooking. Then dinner, then after dinner stroll, then kidding around. So decided to start at 11:00 p.m. All this thoughts were running on my mind with the rhythmic action of Sip the tea, take the puff and let it out. Sip,. Puff,. Ufff... Sip,. Puff,. Ufff... Sip,. Puff,. Ufff... Sip,. Puff,. Ufff... Sip,. Puff,. Ufff... Then empty glass. Had a few more puffs in my cig. Den it was only Puff n Ufff. I dont know whats with the smokers but, we dont let go the cig til its completely finished. It was my last Puff, but before I cud Ufff it, came the "INGLORIOUS BUSTERS".
He didn't look like the guy that he actually was. But the way he came towards us, I felt there was something wrong. As soon as he came he said, "Do you need only public places to smoke"..? The 1st thought that came to me was that he was some Out-of-mind Fan of Vishnuvardhan, who had passed away on 30th. I began thinking of how am I going to convince them, should I say, "I was very much depressed by the sudden demise of our Sahasa Simha, thats why I was smoking here" or ".....". Before I could think of anything else he said, "Walk with me silently orelse I know how to handle this the Police way". Den I said to myself, "Dude, you are Screwed".....
But ironically I somehow felt better with being with the cops than some Out-of-mind fans as I previously imagined. Then happened all d drama which somehow enlightened me on many aspects. The others who got caught along with me started giving all kind of excuses and reasons one can possibly think of. But I do not know what was going through my mind, I didn't speak a word. I went with them as though I was going to my In-laws' house. May be thats why they call it "Maamiyaar Veedu" and cops as "Maama"(tamil pun intended).
As I said, this journey enlightened me on many aspects. First being, the police station doesn't look the way they show in movies. It was just like any other govt office, pics of National leaders, wooden chairs n tables, old files all over the place and lazy employees, only that they had an Uniform. It had all the qualities of a perfect Indian Govt Office. But even with all this I didn't feel anything wrong or the way I would have felt if I were caught smoking in my hostel. I really would have been in trouble that way. Then a guy said to the writer, "Sir I'm getting late for my office, when will you send me..?" To that he replied, "They will just take your details, you pay the fine and can leave". I thought, "If its the money you need couldn't you ask it there itself..?? #()(%@*$"
Then somehow even the little anxiety I had was lost. I started enjoying the things around me. I did the Bar counting(again tamil pun intended) of d cell, which were only 6 opposed to 7 as shown in the movies. I recognized that most of the cops use their belts to tuck their over-sized bellies than their pants. The woman constable in station wore a wig and her make-up resembled an artist in a Yakshagana. Also the romantic tit for tats between the writer and another lady constable, it was a sight worth going to police station. And I imagined that my dad would say, "Enga parambare'liye yaarum Police station vasapadiya medhichadu illa. Thuuu" if he ever came to know about this.
Then came the truth for the sudden sincerity of our cops. It was Dec 31st and they had to produce a minimum of 1000 cases of Public smoking, 250 thefts and other things. That was the reason for their sudden remembrance of duty. One constable was even saying that Vijayanagar station registered 50 theft cases on a single. They were blaming the system for all this, without realizing that they were all an integral part of it who made it so. After they got the required number of Public smoking cases, 23 to be precise, they left us all out after we paid a donation(its FINE in their language) of 300Rs, 150 for the court and 150 as their service charges(the 300Rs I drew from ATM was destined for this). The funniest thing of all these was, the people who were brought to the station for having tea with their friends who were smoking. Such was the desperation of our Cops in producing records than doing their duty. And I came out and saw that my roomie and Partner-in-crime were waiting outside. Thanks to the tea stall owner who informed them.
All in all it was a great experience. Really.
It also reminded me yet again of the Almighty's power. Ya. Every day in my prayers I used to ask Him to give me the will power to quit smoking. At last he gave it to me, but in His own way. With all the twists and turns. What a way for an year to end. With an experience that could be never forgotten and a resolution that had a strong backing.
So there comes the end to my story and my smoking spree. The count stopped at No.731 on 31st night at 11.50 p.m. Hope it stands there till the end....;-)
P.S: Pardon me for such a lengthy post. But I'm too much into details you see.. [;p] I shall try to be short and sweet from next time.