The Day of Celebration

Today is Deepavali. Shah Alam is quiet as people taking the long weekend to go on a short holiday or balik kampong. I will be here as my kids will come back to Shah Alam for their short break. In fact I won’t be going away for while as long distant driving is no longer my cup of morning coffee anymore. Aging is catching up very fast; so my life has to slow down a bit. But today is the day of celebration, with the spirit of 1Malaysia we are happy for our friends. And that’s about it I think we should not go any further than that and join them in the festival. We respect what they are doing , happy with the occasion and let them do whatever that they have to do on this day. As a citizen of this country we owe everyone that much and try to avoid any conflict that might lead to something out of proportion. At the same time, there is a limit where we draw the line because we have our principle; as stated in the Qur’an :

1. Say (O Muhammad (Sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe Wa Sallam)to These Mushrikûn and Kâfirûn): “O Al-Kâfirûn (disbelievers In Allâh, In his Oneness, In his angels, In his Books, In his Messengers, In the Day of Resurrection, and In Al-Qadar, etc.)!
2. “I Worship not that which You worship,
3. “Nor will You Worship that which I worship.
4. “And I shall not Worship that which You are worshipping.
5. “Nor will You Worship that which I worship.
6. “To You be Your religion, and to Me My Religion (Islâmic Monotheism).”

So it’s clear how to perceive this festive season.

I was married on Deepavali day some 20 years ago. The date has changed as it is determined by the moon; but with the mentioning of this day I would remember the occasion that has changed my life forever. When I got married, I promised to my wife that I would quit smoking. Easier said than done; so I learnt it the hard way. The first few weeks were the hardest. You can’t do it in an instant but still you want to keep your words to the lady. I was torn between love and lying. Every time the nicotine-craving came; the mouth drooled, the head spin like the wheel of fortune and you were drawn to the inevitable. I would sneak out like a teenager buying the loose cigarettes from kedai kopi and eased myself somewhere in a hidden place. That time I was in Dungun so the secret place would be the open beach at Telok Lipat or somewhere along that coast line. Sometime I rushed to my parent’s if we were back in Kelantan. My arwah Ayah smiled at me as I battled for the toilet from my brothers. I needed the smoke badly. Ayah said “jangan hilang punca kita kan orang laki!” meaning that to take control of your lady and smoke as you please. Don’t be a coward, full stop. It hit me like a brick. What has become of me? I asked myself. How long am I going to sneak around like this? Remember the pledge to quit smoking…so you will do this for the rest of your life if you have to. I reasoned with my inner thoughts. Once I visited a family during Raya and he offered me a puff. I don’t smoke, I said nervously. “Haah!”, he said sarcastically. With my bluish lips, no one will believe you are not a smoker unless you are an ass trying to play angel in front of your lady. I swallowed it bitterly. I did hang on to my words, although very thinly, until I was completely out of the woods. Now that after 20 years, the mouth still waters for the nicotine. But if I tried to smoke I could not even finish the second puff. The body has completely rejected the smoke.

The point is that quit smoking is not an easy task but it is possible. If you are serious about quitting than the first thing you should do is to get away from your “smoking buddies”. Run away from them as you run from a debt collector. But for men , friends are everything. That’s why the pledge to quit smoking cannot survive for long. But I did that with the help of my wife and my children; because they have become my new close friends.

The second thing is that you will gain some weight. This is also hard to accept. But I am happy with it; as you grow older you don’t really care that you have a big fat ass. Don’t let it drag for long though, work it out as you think that the weight is going out of control.

Overall the suffering and craving will be overcome by healthier body and fresher breath. You will be much more happier and contented.

Good luck if you are thinking of quit smoking. Do it today. Right now!

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