I live in Kochi, known as the Financial Capital of Kerala, calling itself the most literate state in India. I work in a Private Hospital in the Department of Cardiology. Hence I see mostly people suffering from heart diseases. I have seen men as young as 29 suffer 'Heart Attack'. When I look back at the past decade and a half of my experience as a Doctor, the most sinister entity that stands out is "Smoking".
We read the news item about the soaring sales graph of the Kerala Beverages Corporation and the record created by all the 'Alcohol Lovers' of Kerala during the Christmas and New Year. But very little is mentioned anywhere about the sales of cigarettes and those cheap and dirty beedies.
Smoking and Diabetes are two of the worst culprits we have identified as the 'Primary Evils' behind Heart Attacks. Doctors coax, plead, admonish and even threaten people so as to make them quit smoking. But somehow the number of smokers has not come down since I took my first steps in this profession, neither has the number of packets smoked by people dwindled.
I did dwell upon this in an earlier post titled "The Greatest Question". But I am compelled to write again on what I consider as the most offensive of the human habits. I have seen some really obnoxious drunkards. I have also seen those dirty men who beat up the women of the house. Then we always have Politicians, child molesters and murderers. And then we have 'Smokers'!
I have discovered to my dismay that this breed is the most shameless of all. They smoke in public places when there is a Supreme Court Ban. They litter the nature with those rotten pieces of cigarettes. They don't bother when men and women around them turn their noses away or openly show their dislike. Smokers are Smokers and they'll smoke come what may!
But the most horrific thing is when you see the people of the so called most literate state in India smoke in HOSPITAL WARDS! Yes, we have boards asking people not to smoke. We also have Nurses and Supervisors requesting each and every inmate to desist from smoking. But unfortunately, I am witnessing blatant violation of rules, conventions and public decency by smokers.
You can't venture out of a Cinema hall during intermission because you will be engulfed by the smoke. Some unscrupulous guys smoke even inside the Air-conditioned halls. I once complained to a TTE because someone was smoking inside an AC Railway compartment. The culprit escaped Scott free, but left an entire compartment stinking.
When caught red-handed, some of the smokers sheepishly throw away the butt. Some will feign ignorance and say someone else must have been smoking when you can clearly see from where the stink is emanating from. Some will counter with convoluted logic of stress and tension. But the worst case is when you have caught someone and requested him not to smoke inside the hospital premises; and you see the same person smoking again! This infuriating nature is unique perhaps to Malayalee. I apologize straight away if I am wrong, but I have never seen any other species doing this.
When will we people learn to respect the laws and rules and learn to behave?
When will we get to breath some fresh air in our "God's Own Country?"
When and will we ever?