Debunking the myth that a couple in love have to be mushy and romantic, full of fluff and candy floss as our mass media would have us believe, are Sangeeta and Don Ghosh.
33-year-old Don has known Sangeeta for more than 12 years of which they have been married for five. When we interviewed Don for this segment after discovering that he was a chain smoker (for 15 years he’d consumed about 15-20 cigarettes a day) and had given up smoking suddenly, out of the blue, he remarked that it didn’t have much to do with ‘love’.
“I won’t say that I quit it for love or something like that,” he said. On the contrary, he laughingly said, that throughout their courtship Sangeeta loved to gift him lighters and cigars, not “encouraging my addiction,” but clearly not discouraging it either.
“She accepted me the way I was and I had no need to change,” he added.
Don was a happy smoker who, even after having lost a first cousin to cancer due to smoking, wasn’t very perturbed by it. “We had started smoking together and had shared many a cigarette but even his death didn’t make me want to quit.”
It is a well-known fact that quitting a tobacco addiction is perhaps one of the toughest things for an individual; tobacco consumers often lament their inability to quit, even for their own health. To quit ‘for someone’ and to stick to that commitment is considered impossible and irrational.
But something changed for Don three years ago.
“I did not think that smoking would kill me, but I was sure I did not want to die due to smoking,” he said.
“More than anything else, I did not want to burden Sangeeta if I fell ill due to smoking and got bed ridden. I don’t want to become a liability on her and don’t want her to look after me just because we are married.”
“That will sour and change our relationship and I don’t want that,” he added.
Yes, love need not be all lovey-dovey or sentimentalist; it need not be an imposing and overpowering emotion. It can be subtle, caring and grounded in practicality, and it would still be love.
May 31st is World No Tobacco Day.