In the spirit of our 'Too Much Information To Handle' conversations, he leaned over conspiratorially over the three bottles of Sterilium that separated our workstations and loudly whispered, "You know, ever since I was a kid, I wanted to learn to smoke. And two years ago, I actually did!"
His stage whisper alerted me to the thought that he probably wanted me to be either really shocked or really impressed. I, therefore, decided it was best to neglect to mention that he wasnt the only one with a fun tale of trysts with cancer sticks.
So, I let him proceed with his 'secret' outpourings. "I smoked for a month, one cigarette a day. And I really liked it! It made me feel so, so, umm.."
"Uninhibited?" I supplied.
"Free." he smiled back.
"So if you liked it, how come you quit in a month? To test your moral fortitude?" I had to ask, struggling hard to stop the question sounding as cruelly sarcastic as it obviously does.
"Well, I thought, what wud my dad think? He wud be hurt if he knew, and I wud have to tell him. He wud think his son's going bad." he shrugged.
"Yeah, becoz all the boys from your village are good Marathi boys who dont smoke, right?" I said rather distractedly, as the distinctive smell of formalin wafted in through the window.
"Oh come on, Karishma, we're both not that stupid. And we've seen enuff people here to know that every person who isnt a smoker is not automatically a good person. One bad quality does not indicate the presence of other worse ones, and one good quality cannot compensate for the absence of many better ones." His face momentarily clouded over before his genuine, boyish smile shone through instants later and he giggled before adding in another theatrical whisper, "You know what I've always wanted to try though? Ganja!"