At the oddest of hours and the weakest of moments, I remember the one thing that always assured a great ending to my day, my nicotine. Even though I have been away from it since the last ten months or so, today I experience a powerful withdrawal hit which has weakened all my senses and has had me lower my guard. I am on my knees wasted all over drowning in a puddle of nerves, desire, fears and pain.
Yes, I am Swathi Krishna and I am an addict. From the time, I can possibly remember, I owe my dreams, goals, fantasies, pleasure, victories, failures, heck, my entire life to this incredibly addictive substance which has clearly made me what I am today!
I must tell you about my nicotine. Its the kinda drug, that had normal effects like any other would do, but in its own special way. It pumped me up a million times over, gave me a sense of euphoria and drove away my blues miraculously, no matter how badly the day had ended. I always had preserved it for the end of the day, which gave me a reason to survive the next! I probably did it once a week or bimonthly when I was a kid(mostly for recreation). As I grew older, responsibilities, worries and tensions came with age that forced me to use it for sheer survival! Where the deadlines had to be met, doppelgangers of all kinds had to be dealt with and fight for survival in the direst situations had been almost life-threatening. In such times, it was only my nicotine on a daily dosage that helped me pull through. Of course all my well-wishers forbade my regular usage of it, but I always sided with the one thing that kept my soul intact. And the best part is there haven't been any side effects nor will there be any!
And yet, it was this wonderful matter, that encouraged me to abandon it. Graceful enough to let me pursue my dreams. It was a choice between that and my career. It was valiant enough to let me go just as I was cos we were mutually dependent. Indeed, the beginning of this separation was replaced by my excitement of living in a foreign country which strangely had license to sell every molecule that caused addiction except for my nicotine. But now, after 10 months of restraint and self-control, I am on the floor, craving like a baby. A tiny bit of it on the tip of my tongue would do. But I am miles away from the treat.
It is available on almost every other street of an Indian city, (yes! Its legal very much because of its popularity and harmless nature) but each place serving it differently that every new joint you try, you rediscover yourself differently. My nicotine is not a normal roll and sniff kinda joint. There is an elaborate, gratifying procedure to savour it. And if the one who prepares it isn't doing it right, then half the euphoria is lost before it reaches your taste buds. There is a specific pattern to it and every sitting you need to have atleast 7 shots before even mildly being satisfied. The rhythm of the making of your shots stimulates your fluid production and the wait of few seconds before you can pop your first shot gets highly unbearable in a thoroughly enjoyable way. Pick-crunch in the belly-toss the filling-dip in sweet poison-pop it in before it pops out! And it repeats...
Yeah, Priceless is the pleasure derived from one sniff in the open air as you pass by a stall, hearing the smoking potato mermen singing gallantly to the lil' shy pulses in tutus, the irresistible crunch of the bad fat guy amidst its hundred brothers and the jaw dropping tango of cumin and mint with the sensuous tamarind sauce gliding in and out; all conspiring against your free will and ultimately taking over your senses. The quick and careful preparation by the vendor even amidst a jamming mob, the rush when you know the nicotine wont last long with the sweet poison engulfing the bad guy and the eagerness with which you pop it on your tongue gives such a high that clears your head in a jiffy like a seasoned matron. The tango of cumin and mint continues on your taste buds arousing every cell to join the celebration of a delicacy forming within you. And what more, if you cannot afford it, then may be you live in some dusty alley downtown!
And I'm sure I am not the only one, there are millions of people in and outside India addicted to it. If there had to be a society of addicts, the fraternity could fill up a couple of nations easily. I am not ashamed of being an addict, cos those who aren't, aren't blessed enough by this cosmos to dwell in the charm of one helluva substance named Pani puri!
I dunno how long it will be before I can get back to the love of my life, but I do know, when reunited, the universe will engage in such merriment unseen before unfolding a fair of life and celebration on every ounce of every galaxy!