A Cigar, A Cry
FREEZE FRAME BY SYEDA AFSHANA
I always wondered why men smoke. To be frank, I had a strong revulsion for smokers. But only yesterday, my antipathy and curiosity was resolved. More precisely, it was dissolved! After a pretty long time, I ventured into my library for a dusting. As I wiped off the dusty racks, a small book slipped out. The prologue opened with the saying of Edward Bulwer: “A good cigar is as great a comfort to a man as a good cry to a woman.”
That’s it! Without going through the rest of book, I committed the adage to memory and made it food for thought for the rest of leisure time.
Men usually don’t weep. But those who do, they are ridiculed as ‘sissies’, thought to be lachrymose or not to be is no criterion for measuring cowardice or boldness.
In fact, it is not in the sublime nature of man to shed tears or split hair in an hour of crisis. Even as he is troubled on every side, he doesn’t look destroyed. He may be persecuted or cast down, yet he never looks entirely forsaken or distressed. He adroitly keeps the appearances. That is why he is called Man—the one who has the power to will.
Nevertheless, human nature has a tendency to look for outlets lest one should burst like a cloud. Man, in order to alleviate his pain, resorts to ways other than crying. Majority of men smoke simply because they get a psychological relief although smoking is no panacea at all for anything. It is deleterious to health and shatters families beyond any doubt. It can never allay the pain or stand as a moral support in wilderness. Perhaps except one’s own self, no one else sincerely shares anybody’s burden, not to speak of mere two-inch tobacco filled coffin nail.
In spite of this lucid logic, men continue to vent their agonies and discontent in a puff of smoke...
Har Fikhr Ko Duwain Main Udta Chala Gaya....
They can’t cry, that’s why they smoke. Perhaps they fail to comprehend that if they can’t cry, they can try harbouring Faith that happens to be not just prevention but cure for all physical and mental ailments.
And then, there is a growing population of our youngsters who take to smoking just as a fad which gradually turns chronic. At times, it drags them even to worst types of addiction. An independent study reveals that be it a way to fight personal crisis, means to wipe the mental scars or just a sign of being cool, the youth in Kashmir have fallen into the net of drugs, with such cases increasing by 35-40% in the last few years. It further reports that 30-35% youngsters (15-35yr) have become victim of drug abuse (Daily News and Analysis- 25 June, 2010).
Apart from the common causes of growing menace of substance abuse, one of the most important reasons of drug addiction in teenagers is probably communication breakdown. On home front parents fail to observe the behavioural changes in their children due to paucity of time, and even tend to compensate their absence with money. On societal level, the preachers have also fallen short to dispose off their duties in an effective way. The State institutions are pre-occupied with law and order issues, and have no priority to combat drugs trafficking. Thus, the fatal menace.
Coming back to expression, there is certainly a communicative difference between men and women. Manliness and feminity are two different terms and they can’t be incorporated in one being. Women have their ways. They are sensitive by nature and are more emotional than men—the fact substantiated even by modern research. Women know less but understand more since with them the heart argues, not the mind. Whenever a calamity or misfortune befalls them, they stagger quickly. Letting of tears is their only antidote to sorrow because after a good cry, things appear better.
Albeit women are good talkers and they candidly narrate their woes to every tolerant Tom, Dick and Harry—a good cry is still something indispensable. Tears soothe the curt twinge of psyche and pacify the sentiments. And at times, can create a difference provided these trickle down out of pious thought...
Aah Jati Hain Falak Pay Rahem Lanay Kay Liya...
No doubt women can smoke (and some even do) but they ought not to. A good cry is far better than a good cigar. A puff of smoke diffuses quickly in the thin air but a poignant cry from the bottom of heart can move the skies. Yes, that which is not allotted in destiny, the hand cannot reach and what is allotted, one can find wherever one may be—but ‘dutiful drops’ can make the find less wistful and the results fair.
(The author teaches at Media Education Research Centre, MERC, University of Kashmir)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 15 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 15 Oct 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Oct 2011 00:00:00 IST
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