She spent like a good 45 minutes trying to book tickets on www.irctc.co.in (The Indian Railways website). Never happened. She was too excited for the Kathakali scheduled on Christmas day in Kerala. She had never seen it live. That did not seem like happening. Travelling in the Sleeper class and reaching Kerala excited her. She was Ok with the 34 hour journey as well. Tantra just wanted to refresh herself. Well that was the only thing which she saw the Indian Railways website doing. Refreshing itself.
She ventured out of her place at around 7 PM. Roy accompanied her. They sat on a bench right outside the building. She saw three boys, aged between 15-17 come and sit on the bench adjacent to their bench. Roy looked towards them. One of the boys reached out to his pants pocket and pulled out a packet. It was tobacco.
“Are you fucking kidding me man?” Tantra yelled.
The boys looked at her and sat casually on the bench.
“Just keep it to yourself. You are not thinking straight. You will get the damn train tickets tomorrow,” Roy tried to mellow her down.
Tantra stared angrily at Roy.
The boy rubbed the tobacco in his hand and placed it in the left corner of his mouth and started spitting.
“Oye!” Tantra exclaimed.
The boys ignored her again and he continued spitting.
She got up from the bench.
Roy palmed his forehead and stood up.
He followed Tantra to the bench where the boys were sitting.
“Tumhara dost, Cancer kab aa raha hai? (When is your friend, cancer arriving?),” Tantra asked him.
The remainder of the conversation happened in Hindi.
The boys called her a crazy lady in unison and kept ignoring her.
Tantra asked Roy to get his car.
“Yeh mere baap ka rasta hai, yaha thookna mana hai (This road belongs to my father hence spitting here is forbidden),” Tantra remarked.
The boys realized that this lady was upto no good and started to leave. She held the hand of the tobacco chewing kid and asked the others to leave. She pushed him into Roy’s car and asked the kid to lead them to his home. He now understood the intentions of Tantra and started pleading. He swore on possibly all the Gods he knew that he would quit this habit.
He was 14.
They reached his place. A plush 2BHK house awaited them. She pulled out the packet from his pocket and showed it to his mom.
“He is going to die soon,” Tantra told his mother.
She was shocked and started beating him up.
The lady conversed in English.
Tantra wondered what made him take up such a habit considering the fact that he came from a well to do family.
She looked at the lady and told,” You know what, I have two words for you, Upbringing Matters!”
The lady had a huge expression of failure on her face.
Roy and Tantra came down. As they were approaching the car, she turned around to check the height of the building to just wonder where this world is leading to. The kid was right there in his balcony.
He showed her the finger.
She smiled and waved him a goodbye.
She doesn’t know if the boy still spits but he is now, not found anywhere in the vicinity of Tantra’s house.
A habit started at such an age will lead to death at a very young age. The early in his age he spits out tobacco, the faster he gets to spitting out blood.