All of you

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The ghost of my past lingers around me like the dense smoke I exhale, the shisha pipe clutched between my fingers.

The air is thick and clouded, a mist of vapour saturating it as with each breath I unfold a sequence of vivid of memories, unlocking the shadow of guilt which refuses to leave my side.

The shadow I always see in the green greying depths of your beautiful eyes..
In the clever formation of your words my mind interprets so radically..
In the dark of the night as I walk alone.

Shadows of the ghost, waiting for me to yield to their persistent nagging, always refusing to acknowledge my resolve.

How can they understand that I regret you, your very existence.. All of you.

nadia nawaz

Does smoking make me cool?

 2008

C’mon man, what’s the big deal. It’s only one little puff from a small little tube. How harmless could it be?  It looks so cool, no?! All the girls will think we’re way up there, so classy and confident. Besides what’s life without taking a few dares, running a few risks, accepting a challenge. You’re not gna die *scoff*. Nuh uh, you’re way too young for that! Abi tw bhaut saal paray hain yaar! Chall pee cigarette, cool lgna hai k nai?(you still have a lot of years,go on smoke the cigarette,do you wanna look cool or not?) Be a man!

Struggling to fight his own conscience as well as not wanting to look like a wimp by refusing to take up the dare, he finally takes the cigarette and inhales deeply. Ah, not bad. I could get used to this, he thinks.

Let’s fast forward a few years:

2012

7 a.m. in the morning he struggles out of bed into the bathroom and stares at himself in the mirror. Blood shot tired eyes, rumpled hair which he was once so proud of now slowly beginning to thin, pale skin already losing the youthfulness and colour it once had and worst of all those greyish black lips and yellow teeth.  What an attractive look for a 22-year-old he sarcastically says to himself as he tries hard to spruce up his once glowing face. One hour later, and he’s already reeking of cigarettes. Shit, he thinks to himself. I really need to quit!

Sounds familiar eh? We’ve all come to that one point in our lives when the most dangerous and repulsive habit’s seem to take on somewhat of a fascinating and daring stance mostly owing to the company of friends with whom we are with as well as that certain phase in our life when we can’t seem to comprehend the turn of events our life seems to be taking.

Yes, we’ve all lived through “the horror” of being a teenager and some of you might still be going through that phase (myself included). That time when we seemed to be shunned by society, bombarded with peer pressure and over powered by emotions we had absolutely no idea existed.

Despite the fact that this sacred teenage period of your life may come with its ups and downs, one of the larger challenges all of us face is that of smoking. Yup you got it! I know you must be nodding your head up and down now being able to relate to exactly what I’m saying. Every one of us has been challenged with the idea of whether or not to take that cigarette and give it a go.

This is not the story of just one guy; smoking has now become a social norm. Not only is it prevalent among guys of our society but girls are now becoming more and more courageous day by day, refusing to take a back step. Why should the guys get to have all the fun, they ask as they giggle away among themselves. And so they all sit around that table in their group of friends and smoke together.

The most common form of smoking these days is shisha (Yes, it is a form of smoking and just as harmful if not more). Shisha clubs have slowly but surely gained popularity among the youth. Not being allowed, and without the proper availability of areas where youth these days can hang out and catch up with their friends, they instead revert to such activities in complete defiance to what they have been taught. Lahore now has an abundance of such café’s where the rich and middle class youth gather, chill krnay k leyay(to chill). After all, life comes with no guarantees; why not enjoy ourselves a bit they say.

While it may seem all bad to some, the good part is that with the wider use of the internet and the many “Quit smoking programmes” available, kids these days have now started to become more aware of the detriments of smoking. It is not considered such a cool habit as it once was. Increase in the death toll of young people has taught us that no one is scheduled to live up to eighty. Most youth have realised that smoking is a disgusting habit; it’s more like signing a contract which will swindle your money and aid in your death. I call it slow suicide.

So for all of you looking for an outlet for your stress or depressions, don’t pick up that cigarette. Pick up that chocolate bar instead. I guarantee you it’s not as bad, and I swear it’s a whole lot yummier!