“Banning something is the easiest way to make it desirable.”
At CCI, Harry and Khush were coming out of the tennis court holding their rackets. Harry looked a bit exhausted. He looked at Khush as he said, “What happened to you today, you were placing your shots so well that you gave me a good workout for a change.”
Khush laughed. “You don’t give up, do you, I decided to win the last set and I had to do everything I could to make that happen,” he replied.
Harry made a face. “Let’s go for breakfast, I am starving,” Khush continued. This was a routine they followed every morning. “I am going for my omelettes as usual, what about you, Harry?” Harry nodded and as usual Khush ordered the same for both.
A startling discovery
Khush got busy reading Mumbai Mirror, flipping the pages eagerly. “One more article on marijuana smuggling, this time it’s a serious one,” he exclaimed.
“Why serious?” asked Harry.
“Marijuana sales in city funding Naxals,” replied Khush, reading the headline.
“Holy cow! This is serious!” acknowledged Harry with a grim nod. “This is getting very nasty indeed,” he said as Khush tilted the paper and he craned his neck to see the article.
“So now our city is supporting the Naxals,” he continued.
Finding a solution
“How do we stop that?” enquired Khush.
“How?” repeated Harry.“The Government is responsible; they have to do something about it.”
“They have been trying to do it for ages, how will they do it now?” asked Khush.
“There is only one way to stop it,” said Harry, “by legalising marijuana. In my days we called it Mary Jane, rope, ganja.”
“Sure, like weed, grass and joy stick, the names go on and on. The multitude of names shows how popular it is. You just cannot eradicate the use. The pushers are here to stay, like how it was in the West. This clearly shows that you cannot stop people from consuming it. As a result, by banning it, you are facilitating smuggling, corruption and now, terrorism.”
“As Tapan Ghosh once said; what is forbidden is most desirable. This is a fact of life,” concluded Harry.
A hard look at ourselves
“First of all, we are very backward, like the Americans were in the bootlegging days. Gujarat and now Bihar are dry, what can we expect from this country,” emphasized Khush.
“Ha, ha, so true! For that matter, we have restrictions on our food preferences too. Holy Cow!” added Harry.
“Holy Cow Indeed! Ha, ha, ha, that’s a good one”, agreed Khush.
“In the first place, why did the West ban marijuana, not tobacco?” Khush was furious. “That’s how the Italian mafia shook up the world.” Khush was charged up and Harry was amused to see him surfing the net on his iPhone frantically.
“Look,” he said, “according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India is home to 12% of the world’s smokers. In 2009, about 900,000 people died in India due to smoking. According to a 2002 WHO estimate, 30% of adult males in India smoke.
Harry nodded vigorously in acknowledgment after reading the report.
“See this! From Indian Express,” said Khush, pointing his iPhone in Harry’s direction, “One Indian dies every 96 minutes due to alcohol consumption.”
Harry nodded again, looking at the phone screen.
“This is not done just for India. It’s an international overdose research data. It’s a new century and we are still searching for an answer to an age-old question: How many people have died overdosing on weed? The short answer: zero!”
“That too, with overdose,” said Khush confidently, “just one joint works wonders.”
Taking a radical approach
Harry was all smiles as he thought of something witty.
Har fikr ko dhuen mein beshak udao
Har dhuen ko lekin Shiv dhyan banao
He continued as Khush tried to make sense of the couplet. “In fact this herb is a cure for many diseases and not addictive like cigarettes and liquor. There is however, one major problem. Since it can be grown at home almost free, it poses a major threat to all the tobacco and alcohol barons the world over. If legalised, production and sale of marijuana can be a major source of tax revenue. Furthermore, all the money the pushers make can easily go to the government.”
“Surely,” agreed Khush, “and what’s more, in the US and other places we have vaporisers and THC in mid-pens-weed sold in the cleanest and the healthiest form. The tax revenue apart, this will provide healthy pleasure to the people.
Do you want people to drink, get aggressive and beat up their wives, smoke and cause irretrievable damage to their health, or smoke-up and be at peace (bindaas) with the world? It’s for you to decide.