How I Found My Dream Girl after Quitting Smoking
If love is a fever dream, I was infected by it! If love is a bug, I was bitten by it! And she was far away from me, like an unattainable goal - All because I smoked! Sounds like the script of an unrequited romance movie, doesn’t it? Well, I lived this life. I am Nikhil, the director, producer and HERO of this story! And the cigarettes were the villain, that kept me away from my lady love!
Act 1: The Introduction
Young love! Such a delight to watch it bloom. That is where my love story started. Good ol’ college days.
She was the perfect combination of beauty with brains. I saw her in the quadrangle of the college and was completely smitten. She was a student, and I was an event manager, liasoning with the college! She made me a Romeo, I used to pass by her classes just to get a glimpse of her.
She was perfect! And I, on the other hand, was a mess. I could not deal with my constant desire to smoke. It was so hard. My hands rough, breath bad and lips slightly chapped. I had used it as a way to cope with my stress in the earlier days of establishing my company. I was an 18 year entrepreneur! How was I to know how to deal with stress!
And slowly my coping mechanism started to get out of control! It had become a menace! It was the stressor, not the stress reliever; a bane, and not a boon.
Act 2: The Problem
Once as she was speaking to her friends, I heard her say, “I would never date a smoker. They have no idea that they are killing themselves bit by bit.” I was heartbroken. She would never even look at me. I was even more stressed. And I chose to drown myself in the world’s deadliest combination possible - alcohol and cigarettes.
My friends managed to convince me to some extent. They pacified me by saying that she will overlook that aspect of me and I had nothing to worry about!
It was time for the final showdown! I was going to ask her out, and the ego boost given by my friends engulfed me in a fake sense of over-confidence. I cornered her (something I am not very proud of) and expressed my feelings. She looked at me, blank for a couple of minutes, and said, “You are good, Nikhil. I have seen you lurk around my class. However, the only way I could consider a possible relationship is if you quit smoking. Take your time”
And as she walked away, I felt a crack in my heart. How could she turn me down? Rage and Sorrow filled me, and it only amplified as she walked away, step by step.
That night I made the biggest mistake of my life. It was fest time in college and I knew she would be around. I was high on alcohol and nicotine, with zero control over my tongue and mind. I staggered my way to her, as she stood among her friends, and started yelling at her. Having accused her of being heartless and emotionless, I screamed love was not about changing someone. And that’s when she slapped me and started to cry.
“I was wrong about you. You are not good.” Her reason being - she had lost her uncle, a smoking addict, to lung cancer, a side-effect of smoking and had seen her aunt suffer. She didn’t want the same fate. She ran away, crying and told me to never speak to her again.
I felt like an idiot, a loser.
Act 3: The Resolution
I had messed things up. The next day, when I sobered, I realized what I had done!
If I wanted her in my life, I had to get my act together!
That’s when a friend of mine told me about QuitSure, a quit smoking app. His cousin’s boyfriend had enrolled for this programme and found it effective. I joined the 6-Day course immediately. The journey to quit smoking had begun. I had to do it FOR HER.
I learnt, through this course, “smoking relieves stress” is a wrong perception. If anything, it adds to the stress. I had begun to associate smoking with stress, and thus, when the slightest thing triggered, I would resort to smoke. My coaches suggested the use of other stress relieving techniques like breathing, taking a walk, listening to music or any other form of ‘healthy’ distraction.
Having smoked my last cig on the 6th Day, this chapter was closed. It was time for a new beginning now. A new story, a new page in my book!
Act 4: The Union
Quitting was tough. Whenever I was stressed, I would want to go back to take a smoke. But then, I would think about what I learnt during the QuitSure programme. Smoking increases stress!
Eventually, I was able to quit, to let go. And somehow, word reached her that I was now smoke-free. But I was still ashamed to go in front of her after the scene I had created. But I had to make the first move somehow.
One day, I walked up to her. When I looked at her face, I saw no anger or disgust in her eyes; rather it was peaceful, serene and full of acceptance. I went on my knees and groveled, apologized profusely. I had changed, for myself, for her and for our union.
She smiled at me and extended her hand and said, “Hi. I am Anandita. Let’s start on a clean slate and see where it takes us from here.”
And that, my friends, is how I won the heart of my dream girl, after I quit smoking. I might have changed for her, but I reaped the benefits for the same. I had learnt to cope with my stressors effectively. I was healthier, happier and the best version of myself.
Content! Satisfied! Smoke-Free! These are the words that best describe me today! And you can feel that too!