Thursday, January 12, 2006

Do I Have a Right to Breathe Freely?

Today I was walking to my lecture. On the way I was dodging and weaving smokers! It’s awful. Everywhere I look someone was smoking. I thought to myself, “O Mind! Why are these people shoving paper in their mouth, and letting out this disgusting smell… and violating my breathing space?”

Our body is so sacred, its a gift from Waheguru. But we destroy it and discard it! From a beautiful temple, we pollute it so much that it ends up being like a graveyard (you can see what I mean when you look at the face of a heavy smoker - no offence to anyone!)

Guru Sahib says:
ਹਰਿ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਹਿਰ ਜੀਉ ਸਾਜਿਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਲਾਲ ਜੀਉ ਹਿਰ ਤਿਸੁ ਮਿਹ ਰਿਹਆ ਸਮਾਏ ਰਾਮ ॥
har mandar har jeeo saajiaa, mere laal jeeo, har tis mehi rehiaa sumaae raam.
The Dear Lord has fashioned the body as the temple of the Lord, O my dear beloveds; the Lord continues to dwell there.
(Ang 541, SGGS)

I wish the government bans smoking in public places. After hearing the news today it seems there is a glimmer of hope that smoking in plubic eating places (at least) will be shortly banned. Smoking is so inconsiderate that not only the person smoking dies and destroys their body-temple, but also those associated or standing near the person end up passive smoking and also become ill. For this reason, Guru Sahib was strict and said that a Sikh should not even touch tobacco. Gurbani says:

ਪਾਨ ਸੁਪਾਰੀ ਖਾਤੀਆ ਮੁਖਿ ਬੀੜੀਆ ਲਾਈਆ ॥
paan supaaree khaatee-aa, mukh beeRee-aa laa-ee-aa.
Those people who eat and chew "Paan" (nicotine betel nuts), and smoke tobacco (meaning that they those who in indulge in intoxicants),

ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਚੇਤਿਓ ਜਮਿ ਪਕੜਿ ਚਲਾਈਆ ॥੧੩॥
har har kade na cheti-o, jam pakaR chalaa-ee-aa. 13
and, do not contemplate or do simran of Waheguru - (the cycle of) Death will seize them and take them away (to become entangled in the cycle of reincarnation). 13

Chalo (O well), I eventually got on bus and arrived at university. After my lecture I met up with Tegpal Singh to give him the money from Sikh Society for the trip to Ice-Skating, which he is organising. My bag was full with oranges oranges (well they were Clementines) because it was buy one get one free at Sainsbury’s. So I bought two bags (considering my numerous eating-out experiences!!). I offered Tegpal Singh an orange and had one myself. I left university, and on the way I was peeling the orange. I was trying to be careful that my hands don’t touch the orange (well as much as I could help it) because didn’t have the opportunity to clean my hands anywhere.

I was walking down the Strand and peeling my orange. Eventually I bit a segment off the orange. It was very sweet and tasty. I took my next bite and ended up putting half an orange in my mouth. I was struggling to chew on the orange with my teeth. Just as I was about to chew on the orange, a man walked passed and breathed in my face! WAAHEGUROO!

It was disgusting. The man’s breath really badly smelt of Chicken & Mushroom pie (no offence to him). Ermm, someone may be thinking, “How does Manvir Singh know what Chicken & Mushroom pie smells like?” Do I sneakily eat Chicken & Mushroom pies when no-one’s looking? To put everyone’s heart to rest, don’t worry I’m a vegetarian. I know the smell from my school days when I used to eat Chicken & Mushroom pie with chips. Waheguru!

Back to the story. I felt queasy and overwhelmed by the smell. God knows how many chicken pies that man had eaten to have such a strong smell! I was munching the half orange piece in my mouth, but no I had lost the pleasure of tasting it. I was overrun by the smell of CHICKEN & MUSHROOM PIE. As I was walking back to halls, the smell just followed me. I felt sickened!

On the journey back I was thinking to myself, “Do I have a right to breathe freely?” Koyee Bandaa Chicken Mushroom pie khaah ke breathing space violate karee jaandaa, Koyee hor Tamaakoo peeh ke breathing space violate karee jaandaa (Someone is violating breathing space by eating Chicken & Mushroom pie, another person is violating breathing space by smoking tobacco). What's the world coming to hey :)


Singhstah said...

one word=Yukky

Prabhu Singh said...

Yeah it seems everybody in Europe smokes. The culture in America has changed completely since I was a kid.
It is no longer socially acceptable to smoke in this country. It is socially acceptable to tell somebody that they are polluting your air if they smoke near you. Bars are about the only place other than a person's home where people can legally smoke in most western states. Since I don't go to bars, I never deal with smoke anymore. God has blessed me with some of the cleanest air in the world. WaheGuru! Can I ever thank God enough for the gifts in my life?

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

Very lucky to live in a smoke free society (well near enough).

I was thinking to myself, Guru Sahib's values and beliefs are not "old fashioned" or "from the past." Rather they are very much inline with modern world-issues and development. The vision of our Guru is being gradually manifested and introduced in societies, like in the West.

Now they are gradually banning smoking, eventually (may take a century or longer) alcohol etc. The effects intoxicants has on the mind and body and the implications it has on society, spirituality, families, and children is increasinly being looked into.

Chalo, Rab De Rang. The world is God's Game!

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blogs for a while and do you think you have a problem with germs? I don't mean any disrespect but this could tern into a serious problem.
I know that someone breathing in your face is not the most pleasent thing in the world. Reading your post about the presentation in the school or sixthform and you not being able to drink from the staff mug is very interesting.
Do you watch Hollyoaks in the UK? The character of 'Cameron' is similar to you interms of a fear of germs.

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

i know who you are referring to in Holllyoaks. I don't think I have a fear of germs... will if I do its very selective.

erm... When going to public bathrooms or at uni (not normal doors) i open the doors with my coat sleeve (not my hands)... but thats because people don't wash their hands when going to the toilet... so I dont want to touch that then touch my face and beard.

Do I sound a anit-Germ Extremist??

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

A thought came to my mind... I can't be that bad because I live in university halls, and the kitchen is FILTHY (but I dont use it other than wash my dishes and I occasionally cook Parotay!)

Anonymous said...

Fegedaboutit!!! You're no more an anti-germ extremist than a lot of people, me included. The only difference is that you blog about your prejudice!

The toilet thing is more common than you would believe :)

Anonymous said...

Does everyone not have the right to eat whatever he or she wants? What if someone complained to you that your breath smells of allu gobi, then what?

Fair enough that breathing in smoke is detrimental on many levels and smoking in public should be banned but one surely can't expect the world to stop eating things just because their breath smells and they might breath into the face of an unsuspecting vegetarian!

I do not mean to cause any offence but am merely stating an opinion, God bless.

Ps, love your stories about your adventures!

Arshdeep said...

paaji almost everything you say is humourously (if thats how u spell it lol) funny and true.

Sometimes when i read your experiences it looks like i'm reading my own experiences, but through someone elses eyes.

again very funny.

God Bless and keep your stories up.
Finally someone who is as concerned about the spreading of filthy germs as i am.

p.s. it also bothers me when i have nowhere to walk, as theres all spit on te floor - GROSS!!!

neways paaji keep it up !!!!

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

Thanks for all the comments.

Guru Rakha