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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Coughing Kolkata!

My mom has always been fond of Kolkata and so am I. What attracts us towards this city could be defined by the name itself; Kolkata-the city of joy! The city can be described by its round faced, soft spoken people speaking India’s sweetest language, finding bliss in eating ‘fuchka’; in stalls which could be found almost anywhere you see. Clear complexioned, beautiful looking girls dressed in cute outfits giggling and gossiping, unknowingly (or rather knowingly!) catching guy’s attention. Be it a housemaid or a high ranked officer, they share such sense of oneness that one could hardly make out the difference in their status by listening to their conversation.
The one thing which I found really disturbing about this city is the smoke; by smoke, I don’t mean the polluted gas from vehicles but the carcinogenic smoke from cigarettes. This is something surprising that a city that seems to be all immersed in happiness is home to so many smokers. I was pondering on what could be the reason for this wrong scenario but could not find a convincing answer. I have been to many places in India but nowhere have I felt the omnipresence of smokers!
I once went to Jadavpur University where I got amazed to see so many students holding cigarettes in a manner which for them seemed like a symbol of pride. To save myself from being the victim of passive smoking, I would either cover my nose or just try to hold my breath until I cross this “high smoke zone” which I encounter everyday while my way to office. One morning, while coming to office, I saw a relatively big cloud of smoke right infront of me and I immediately held my breath. As I moved one step ahead and looked on my right to curse the person, I realized, to my amusement, that it’s source was not cigarette but incense sticks! I found this encounter quite amusing because in  Kolkata, the first thing that comes in mind on seeing smoke is not bus, auto or incense but cigarettes!
I hope this mindset could change but this would rather need a radical change in people’s outlook; we need to get convinced that smoking doesn’t make us look cool, or it isn’t a way to freak out with friends or to get relief of pain after being betrayed by a girl! I just hope and wish that the intellect in Calcuttians wouldn’t get choked up by cigarette smoke but would proudly spread out like incense.


  1. Nice one! Even I face the same problem.

  2. Nice one.... We faced a lot and we are affected partially... so we have to prevent it for us who are partially affected and for those who are directly....

  3. So, do you all agree that we should start a anti-smoking campaign? When you see someone smoking in the public place, be the first courageous one to get up and ask to stop at once!!

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  5. Nice observations abt Kolkata. Sorry to say but its not only in kolkata but wherever Bengalis are they do smoke and drink a lot. I am going too specific about this in my comment because I have personally observed this wherever I go. I don't mean to hurt anyone or create an issue but this is a fact. Surprisingly the Biggest Indian tobacco company ITC is headquartered in Kolkata.

    I don't know why and how the culture turned in Bengal that Smoking and Drinking got so deeply integrated into it when they have the most gifted intellects with them. May be because of the British impact on the city as they ruled Bengal for the longest as compared to the other states.

    1. Ohh, I never thought on this fact- ITC! May be British rule left its impact, I don't know but just go by the thought that there is always room for improvement.... and now that I am a part of Kolkata, I wish I could contribute to the betterment in any tiny-miny way!

  6. Sure ma'am! dat wud b really a nice way to contribute but it need guts! Once, I and my friend Grace, during our internship in Neeri, have done that and the person threw his cigarette. Actually smoking was not allowed inside Neeri premises;and we saw him smoking just few steps before he entered Neeri main gate; we waited till he entered inside and then I and she started a short conversation;"Deeksha, I guess smoking is not allowed inside the campus no? Yes, Grace, it's strictly prohibited." The man was sensible enough that he threw the cigarette on listening to our conversation otherwise we were planning to say him directly. We were overwhelmed by our "achievement"!

  7. Nice Post.. And defiantly people smoking is a common sight in Kolkata. What is disturbing is the increasing number of smokers among the younger generation.