This one is more like Britannia Little Hearts. Tiny, light biscuits kissed with sugar. Not as intense as the previous ones, but would sound like one of those Malgudi days short-stories.
Addiction is something I am really scared of. Now I don’t know exactly where does this stem from. Maybe I saw too many programs on TV about substance abuse, I remember Doordarshan used to have quite a many of those kinds when I was small. Although I haven’t met anyone personally who is an addict, but that phobia has just stuck.
I have addicted and de-addicted myself from a lot of things, Orange candies, Eclairs, Chewing gum, Sugar. Coffee for one! The amount of coffee I used have in a day was crazy. If I smelled coffee beans somewhere, I would start following the whiff and reach the destination. It came to a point when I would get a headache if I didn’t manage to get my cuppa. That was it. I simply restricted myself to one cup a day. Even the sight of coffee used to make me paranoid. Now I still have coffee, but not like a maniac.
Once me and some friends went to this place called Sanskruti in Pune. It’s a resort with lots of things to do apart from just eating. You’d find tattoo makers, cartoonists, palmists, astrologers, and the likes strewn all over the place. And living up to the traits of my gender, I went to the astrologer first. Of course now astrologers don’t come with any credentials, you just have to go along with whatever they say. He may be correct about some things and may not about others. But then how do you decide, which bit would come true after all? He started off, “You are an intelligent girl, you will do well in your career. But you are a very hot-headed woman, you should watch your words. Can’t really figure out when will you get married and how would your husband be like.” I said to myself, wow I couldn’t have figured even an iota of this using my nut sized brain. Then came the mother of all, “By the way, you should stay from liquor or similar things as you have a tendency of getting addicted to things” Damn! He just had to say that and I was doomed for life.
Next day I met my friend Rishi. Rishi is someone ……! Ok this is a futile effort. Let me just say, he is knows me the way only a real friend can know. “Rishi you know what, I think I am addicted.” He just looked at my face, “addicted to what?”
“I have been having a bottle of Pepsi everyday. See, people stopped having it after the pesticide episode, but I still didn’t. I have it if I have a headache, I have it if I have a stomach upset, even if I have cold, anything for that matter.” “I didn’t realize it was a grave condition, until yesterday when this guy told me I can hooked on to things!”
And this is precisely why Rishi is my friend; he didn’t laugh at me, he didn’t shoot my thoughts down, and in all probability he didn’t buy my theory but he still treated me as if he believed in every word that I said. “Ok in that case, we should first cure you out of this, and next time be careful that you don’t get addicted to anything new.” That was quite reassuring and once Rishi had taken things in his hands, days were sunny again.
Initially, we substituted the Cola with Lime soda. Then I started having so much of lime soda that I had to substitute lime soda with apple juice; so on and so forth. Rishi took care that I didn’t continue with any thing for more than a month.
Then one day! “Rishi I am addicted to the kathi kabab rolls in Olympia.” Not my fault, anybody who has eaten those kathi kababs, would stand up for me. It was difficult to resist as no road in Pune reached my home, without passing Olympia. Even if I tried to pull myself away, it just didn’t work. Now even my mom was irritated at this one, because I was having one every day. And if I didn’t get one I would act like a cranky Queen of Sheeba, who just ordered and people would make people run around and fetch whatever I wanted.
This addiction thing was far more perilous than I had imagined. I was paranoid about anything and every thing that I ate or drank. I would drive Rishi crazy. Now when I think of it, why did he even tolerate me? But he had adopted me like a kid. And I am sure he must have promised himself he will never have kids of his own after that. Everyday he would talk to me; put my demons to rest. If he could, he would meet me as much possible. He never left me unattended as if I was an imbecile. And I was turning into a spoilt brat. I wouldn’t sleep until I had spoken to him. There were times, that I would call him, have nothing to say, then wish him good night and hang up. If I craved for something, I would want to have it in his presence, as if he would catch the demon called ‘Addiction’ by its neck and fling him into space.
One day I hear my Ma warning Rishi, “Beta, you are spoiling her. She is taking advantage of this whole thing now.” Imagine My own Mom and telling Him all this. It blew my lid off. What were they thinking? Was I some kind of trouble making, attention seeking, spoilt kid? When I now think of it, I did play it to perfection though! :-)
I just decided, I don’t need Rishi. I can very well manage on my own. I would never be able to repay what he did for me as a friend, but Goodbye and Thank you! Of course, I couldn’t stop talking to Ma, but I would never go to her, even if I had to go to a Rehab every time I got addicted to something; even if it was Orange juice. To hell with all of them!
At night, when I hit my bed, I couldn’t call him and I hate to confess, it was difficult to fall asleep. I started the next day with a grumpy face as I hadn’t slept. One day passed, two days passed, I still didn’t get sleep at all. I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I was eating well, coming to bed on time, no boyfriend trouble; there was nothing that would give me sleepless nights.
Suddenly lightening struck, Wait a minute, did I get addicted to him?