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Please help yourself

 It was around 11 p.m. in the night, I was deep asleep. First, I heard the voices coming from deep well “Amar”, and it became louder and louder gaining amplitude. Then, suddenly I was out of my deep sleep, some one was shaking me. “Get up and go to the shop and buy a quarter (rum) and 5 cigarettes”. Before I went to bed around 9 p.m., I remembered buying a full bottle of rum and two packets of cigarette. In the adjacent room, partitioned by just a dangling curtain, my father was talking to a few of friends from office, and my mother was in the kitchen desperately trying to concoct some snacks.  I don’t remember at what age it started but it continued till I left the house to study. And, I know it was not only me- it used to happen in a lot of middle class and poor families. In the upper class, under aged house servant or son/daughter of house servants are subjected to these chores.

At that time, I obeyed my father without any questions. We were brought up in such a manner that the question, whether it was right or wrong,   never sprung in my brain. However, Now: was it right?  Without any hesitation, I can say that it’s not right. Although I should take full responsibility of my smoking and drinking adventures, on the other hand, I cannot fully exonerate my father on this matter. I can always hear my father, his friends and relatives’ conversation on which cigarette and wine were good and taste better. Later, I could derive some happiness when I could buy and taste the wines and cigarette my father never could afford.

It is different thing that I quit smoking and drinking before my son was born. I am extremely happy that I don’t have to ask my son to do the same. Additionally, although it hurt some of my relatives’ feelings, I was very particular and didn’t allow them to smoke in the same room where my son and daughter were sleeping or playing.

During my visit to the west, I witnessed that under aged are not allowed to buy wine and cigarette. The rule may vary, but it is more or less the same in many  countries. What does this tell us ? It is at the governmental level people are taking the necessary measures. Although it is disputable how much it could prevent young generation from picking drinking and smoking habits, at least it would not let the thing I mentioned to happen. I’m sure if I did the survey at least 80% of people in the west will vehemently oppose sending 6 year old kid to buy alcohol and cigarette.

Without any further ado, I request everyone, if you need cigarette and alcohol, please go and help yourself.