Anirban, a good old friend, still remembers the kick that landed on his butt as a result of his adamant refusal to kick the butt. A decade-and-a-half later I have realised that kicks cannot make someone quit smoking. Getting your heart into it can.
During my school and college years I detested smoking and in the interest of my friends cajoled, even threatened, them to keep their lips away from the tantalising ends of cigarettes. There also have been a few stray incidents of violence, as mentioned above. Did any of my friends quit? No. Instead, I, a few years later, turned smoker.
As a child I was very curious, as children usually are, and I and my friends experimented with many kinds of smoke - rolled-up paper to dried plant stems. Thankfully these were only stray experiments and didn't turn into a habit and my childhood was otherwise smoke free and so was my teens (I was a rabid anti-smoking agent then).
It was my twenties that drifted away in a tobacco smoke-filled haze. As usual, it began with a few puffs of a 'cool' new brand that a friend insisted I must try, and soon the puffs multiplied into packets. You need no laboratory to tell you that nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known to man. Ask any smoker.
It wasn't that I never tried to quit or that I wasn't aware of the dangers associated with this grievous habit. Quitting is tough, very tough. But possible.
A quit resolution was soon followed by a marathon movie watching session that was usually accompanied by bottles of beer and of course, cigarettes. By the time I finished watching the Godfather trilogy for the third time, a 20s pack of King Size cigarettes was also finished. And so was my short-lived resolution.
Things started to change when I became a father. My concern for my son's wellbeing also led to the realisation that his wellbeing was closely associated with mine. To give him all that I wanted to, I had to stay healthy and quitting smoking was the best start that I could make.
After the start, the rest of the ride has been smooth. My smoker colleagues have also helped in a way ignoring me when they went out for their smoke breaks.
I was apprehensive at first, thought my willpower will wither away. But each time I see my son smile, it only gets stronger. My secret was to associate it with something very close to my heart.
It has now been a few months since my last puff. I don't remember the date. I don't want to.