ONE MORE CIGARETTE
Yash Raj Gupta
(put: (prompt: "Your name?","") into $name)It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr.$name.
Here’s what I know about [[you]].
Please click below to enter your alternative reality.
Good Luck :)
Name : $name Kapoor
Job Description : CEO of a multi-million dollar startup
Status : Married to [[Aisha Kapoor Singhania]]
Lifestyle : Chainsmoker, Womaniser, Misogynist, Arrogant
[[Go Back->Welcome]]You can take a two minute break to light up a cigarette
( If you so wish :) )
[[Start]]Your eyes open and you find yourself lying on the floor of a dimly lit, empty room. The only light seems to be coming from a greasy window at the far end of the room. You hear the cacophony of traffic coming from the street. You slowly get up and wearily make your way to the door by the window.
You shield your eyes as a ray of harsh sunlight greets you as you step out on the open street.
You suddenly feel the urge to light up a cigarette but you find, to your dismay, that you are not carrying a lighter. You look around but couldn’t find anything helpful. Nevertheless, you start walking along the pavement. As you cross the block, your eye wanders into the dark alleyway where you see the silhouette of a man smoking. Encouraged, you walk up to him and
[[Ask for a lighter]]
[[Snatch his lighter]]Aisha’s voice becomes audible as though coming from far away and everything starts fading away. Your eyes open and you see Aisha trying to wake you up. You ease out from the bed and head towards the table. As you light up a cigarette, Aisha interrupts angrily, “I told you not to smoke in the bedroom.”
You : “No one tells me what to do, now go and prepare breakfast.”
Aisha : “Breakfast is on the table but go freshen up yourself first''
[[Go to bathroom]]The man takes out a gun. Aghast, you spin around and start running in the opposite direction. Adrenaline rushes through your body as you make your way towards the pavement. Just as you were about to make the turn, you hear a shot fired from behind. You feel a searing pain in your chest and you wake up, your heart beating frantically.
You fumble in your jeans pockets and find a cigarette pack and lighter. A few moments pass by until the door opens, and Aisha walks in. Her veins bulges in her forehead as she looks at you in anger.
Aisha : How many times have I told you not to smoke in the house. It’s a filthy habit.
She snatches the cigarette from your mouth.
Fuming, you get out of bed and make your way to the washroom screaming “Who do you think you are? No one tells me what to do.”
You shower and cool down.
[[Go for breakfast]]You finish your cigarette and then take a bath. You hear Aisha’s voice calling for breakfast.
[[Go for breakfast]]You make your way to the breakfast table. Aisha (your wife), has already begun eating and looks up from the newspaper as you walk in. You take the newspaper from her hands, and light a cigarette.
Although disgusted, she chose to ignore it this time.
Aisha: So, tomorrow is our anniversary
You (absent-mindedly): Hmmm… What do you want for your gift?
Aisha (angrily): Divorce. Today is our anniversary and you don’t even remember it. And more importantly, your smoking disgusts me.
You : Hey! Let’s not make rash decisions. Maybe we could talk it over and work something out.
Aisha : The only way that works is if you go to the renowned [[Bengali Baba]] and get rid of your smoking habit.
You: A Baba? What good would that do?
Enraged, Aisha starts to get up.
You: Okay, okay, okay. I’ll go to the Baba. I promise
[[Go to Bengali Baba]]
Name : Bengali Baba
Job Description : Social Worker
Status : Single
Lifestyle : Austere, Determined, Unpredictable
[[Go Back->Go for breakfast]]A lantern hangs by the door at the end of the dark alleyway. You move towards the door. You knock on the door and the door opens up a crack.
You enter the room, which was lit up by lanterns placed halfway up the stone walls. The Baba is sitting on a cot in front of a crackling fire.
Baba : Welcome. I know you are here to end your smoking habit. I am going to help you achieve that. Please sit down and have a look at the contract.
You sit down on a rickety chair as the contract is handed to you by one of the assistants standing around the room by the walls.
[[Open Contract]]I hereby agree to do whatever I am asked to do in order to get rid of my smoking habit.
[[Sign the contract]]
[[Deny to sign the contract]]Baba : Good. Now, sign a check for 21 lakhs for the program.
You : What?!? Are you out of your mind?
Baba: Look who’s talking. You have spent over 33 lakhs on your smoking habit until now through expenditure on cigarettes, ashtrays, matches, medical bills, medical bills for your brothers's asthma etc. If you don’t give up smoking now, you’ll have to spend even more in your lifetime. Be wise and spend 21 lakhs now.
You: Hahaha. Are you kidding me? That is obviously an extreme hyperbole.
Baba: Unfortunately, no. Here’s a detailed breakup.
Baba: Anyway, you do not have a choice. Your wife would leave you if you do not accept.
You sign the check in a resigned manner.
You: Now what?
Baba: With each cigarette you smoke, a calamity would befall you. Unless, you move to Delhi and have to smoke naturally (he said with a chuckle).
[[Ask another question]]
[[Leave]]Baba looks at his assistants and nods his head. The assistants promptly start walking towards you and grab you by your limbs. You struggle but to no avail. They carry you to an adjacent room and throw you inside. They leave, locking the doors behind them. You hear Baba’s voice from the other side of the door saying that he would be allowed to leave only when he signs the contract.
After realising that it was not possible to break down the door, you resign to the fact that signing the contract is the only way out.
[[Sign the contract]]You : What calamity……
You suddenly start feeling dizzy in the middle of the question. The world around you starts spinning as you feel your consciousness ebbing away, and your thoughts, as clear and concise as they were mere moments ago, were coming to an end.
[[Blackout]]As you get up to leave, you start feeling dizzy. The world around you starts spinning as you feel your consciousness ebbing away, and your thoughts, as clear and concise as they were mere moments ago, were coming to an end.
[[Blackout]]You open your eyes and the world around you slowly comes into focus. You realise that you are sitting in your car. Was the whole Bengali Baba experience a dream? Surely it seems too dramatic to happen in real life. You dismiss the whole experience as a dream and reach into your glove compartment to take your cigarette and lighter.
As you open the glove compartment, a card falls out onto the floor. It said “Bengali Baba”.
You pick it up and turn it over. Written in blood-red was, “3 Cigarettes”.
Your heart starts racing and you throw out the cigarette in panic.
Suddenly your phone starts ringing loudly. You can hear your heart pounding against your chest as you turn over your phone. It’s only Aisha.
[[Take the call]]
[[Cut the call]]Aisha : Did you go to Bengali Baba’s office?
You : Yes
Aisha : What did he say?
You : I don’t want to talk about it.
Aisha : So, you will quit?
You : I’m driving, is there something important you wanted to tell me?
Aisha : Yes, we have to go to [[Richa]]’s house party, don’t be late
You : But, I…
She cut the phone.
[[Call her back]]
[[Go to Richa’s house party]]Aisha calls again.
[[Take the call]]
[[Cut the call]]You try to call her but her phone is not reachable. You decide to go to the party.
[[Go to Richa’s house party]]You enter the party hall and see people smoking and drinking shots. You try to control yourself and divert your focus from cigarettes and start finding Aisha.
You find Richa, greet her and ask her about Aisha. You feel a poke on your shoulder and turn around to see Aisha in a beautiful black cocktail dress. You try to socialise and have fun but to no avail. Still unable to stay distracted from cigarettes, you ask her if it will be okay to go home as you are not feeling well . She agrees. On the way out, you see your friend [[Robin]]. He stops you and offers you a cigarette but you deny.
Robin : This is the first time ever you have rejected a cigarette. What’s wrong?
You : It’s not a big deal.
Robin (clearly intoxicated) : I am not letting you go before you either smoke a cigarette or tell me a good enough reason not to. Come with me. Let’s talk.
[[Go with Robin]]
[[Deny Robin and go home]]
Name : Richa Bhandari
Job Description : Personal Assistant of $name
Status : Single
Lifestyle : Dupllicitous, Opportunistic
[[Go Back->Take the call]]
Name : Robin Mittal
Job Description : Fashion Designer
Status : Complicated
Lifestyle : Free spirit
[[Go Back->Go to Richa’s house party]]Robin : I know man you are abstaining because your wife is telling you to. You shouldn’t listen to her. This is a party. Let’s smoke and have fun.
You : No man, I quit.
Robin (chortling): What??
You : Yes, I quit
Robin : This is a party, loosen up.
You : If I take this then this Bengali Baba will..
Robin : And who is gonna tell this Baba?
Your urge to smoke starts to take over you and you feel yourself giving in to the temptation. However,the Baba’s words were still echoing in his brain.
[[Smoke one cigarette and go home]]
[[Deny Robin and go home]]You enter the house pondering over the events that transpired during the night. You change your clothes and go to bed.
Aisha enters the room and tells me how happy she is that you agreed to visit Bengali Baba and quit smoking. She goes to bed and falls sound asleep. But you are still struggling with the urge to smoke. You try different techniques to induce sleep but they proved fruitless. This smoking temptation is increases as the clocks ticks by.
You open the almirah and try to find a sleep mask but instead you find a cigarette box. You look at the box and then you look at your wife. Your body is shaking and the temptation is at its peak but you can also remember how happy Aisha is that you are trying to quit smoking. But one cigarette can stop this temptation help you go to sleep.
[[Throw the box in the dustbin and wake Aisha to help you]]
[[You decide to take only one cigarette]]You enter the house pondering over the events that transpired during the night. You change your clothes and go to bed.
Aisha enters the room and tells you how happy she is that you agreed to visit Bengali Baba and had quit smoking. You turn over and pretend that you are sleeping. You are unable to sleep, dreading the calamity that could befall you if the Baba’s words proved to be true. Slowly, your thoughts fade away and you go to sleep.
[[Wake up]]You tell Aisha about everything that had occurred. You convince her that you never want to smoke again but you would need her help in the process. Overwhelmed, she embraces you in a tight hug.
[[Ten years later]]You smoke one cigarette and then go to bed to sleep. You are unable to sleep, dreading the calamity that could befall you if the Baba’s words proved to be true. Slowly, your thoughts fade away and you go to sleep.
[[Wake up]]A loud noise wakes you up and you see Aisha standing over a broken vase, looking furious. The room was in total disarray.
“What’s wrong?”, you ask groggily, rubbing the sleep out of your eyes.
“You cheated on me with my best friend Richa and you ask me what’s wrong?”, she screamed.
You : I can explain.
Aisha : What do you mean explain? You slept with her and no explanation can get you out of this.
She storms out of the room with what looked like a suitcase full of her things. You try to stop her but she slams the door in your face.
Suddenly, the phone rings..
[[Pick up call]]
[[Hang up call]]You wake up to the sound of your kids screaming “Happy anniversary!!”. They are holding a completely laden breakfast table, beaming from ear to ear. Smiling, you turn to look at your wife. She smiles back knowingly.. It’s been ten years since you touched a cigarette. All is good.
[[The End]]Thank you,
I hope you loved your alternate life.
[[pay the price->Go Ahead]]Bengali Baba : I told you that every cigarette has a penalty. Your first punishment is the truth. An apparently deserted or private place would not save you from me. Always remember that I’m watching you at all times. So, think again before picking up the next cigarette.
You start cursing on the phone but you realise that Baba has cut the call.
[[Let her go]]You receive a message from that number.
“I told you that every cigarette has a penalty. Your first punishment is the truth.. An apparently deserted or private place would not save you from me. Always remember that I’m watching you at all times. So, think again before picking up the next cigarette.”
[[Let her go]]You race after her and catch up with her just as she is about to get into the cab. You convince her to come back home on the promise that you would never hide anything from her ever again. Although, she comes back, it is apparent that she is still very pissed off. To appease her, you decide to take her shopping.
On the way back from what proved to be a fruitful trip, you get a call from your friend, [[Shashank]] that he is launching a new cigar brand at his club. You try to refuse but Shashank wouldn’t take no for an answer. After consulting with Aisha, you decide to accept the invitation.
[[Go to Shashank’s party]]When Aisha leaves the house, you start cursing Bengali Baba for whatever happening in your life. You try to call Aisha but her phone is unreachable. As time passes by, your frustration dies down. You also start thinking that it is the right time for you to let Aisha go and move on with Richa. You take your phone and
[[Call Aisha again]]
[[Call Richa]]Baba’s words still echo through your head as all eyes in the hall fall on you. Nervously, you stand up and ask him to come aside. Perplexed, Shashank steps down from the stage and walks up to meet you.
“As much as I would love to celebrate this moment with you,unfortunately I have quit smoking. It’s been a tough journey and I wouldn’t want to relapse. Aisha has high hopes from me”, you start.
“This is a matter of my company’s reputation. Please understand. Aisha would understand that you did this for an old friend” Shashank pleaded.
[[Accept the request]]
[[Still reject the request]]
Name : Shashank Goel
Job Description : Owner of San Juan Cigars
Status : Divorced
Lifestyle : Ambitious, Business-minded, Good friend
[[Go Back->Follow Aisha]]The party hall is teeming with men in tuxedos and women in flowing evening gowns. Waiters in waistcoats are making their way through the crowd, handing around glasses of champagne.
As you are about to take your seat, you see Shashank coming onto the stage with a glass of champagne in his hand. He clink his glass twice and the room fell silent.
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for gracing us with your presence at the launch of our new cigar brand. We are delighted to announce that the charismatic Rajeev Wandwekar is our brand ambassador. To make this day more special, I would like to call upon one of my best friends, $name, to come up on stage, open this packing and light the first cigar. “
You totally freeze as the spotlight falls on you.
[[Call him aside]]Shashank embraces you warmly and you make your way to the stage. He hands you a cigar and holds up a lighter as you put it between your lip. The flame of the lighter roared alive for a second, and as you take the first puff, the hall erupts into a loud applause. Through the corner of your eye, you see a distraught Aisha leaving the party.
You attempt to follow her but are swarmed by the myriad of photographers trying to get a photo of you with Shashank. Shashank then leads you over to a table of your close college friends. It’s midnight before you could eventually excuse yourself from the party that seemed to have no end. As you rush home, you try to think of different ways to pacify Aisha.
[[Reach Home]]Shashank smiles understandingly, walks up to the stage and says a few words in support before calling upon his CFO to do the honours.
[[Five years later]]You push the trolley out of the supermarket, Aisha close behind holding Aarav(your son) in her arms. The initial couple of years but you had worked hard to save their marriage. Marriage counselling had helped and with Aarav now in the picture, things were a lot better. You had not smoked in five years. It felt good.
[[The End]]You enter your house and start calling out her name. An eerie silence greets you and an uneasy thought strikes you. Has Baba inflicted his second calamity? Frantically, you start calling her cell but it was switched-off. Richa and Aisha’s brother were also unaware of her whereabouts. You panic and leave your house in a hurry.
[[React in anger]]
[[React in despair]]On reaching Baba’s abode, your panic has given way to fury. You storm through his doors, to find the serene Baba seated in front of the fire.
“Whatever has happened is your fault”, Baba quipped before you had a chance to say anything.
“I knew you have taken Aisha. Aisha should not be hurt for my smoking habit. If anything happens to her, you will not escape unhurt”, you scream in fury.
“I implore you not to take any rash decisions”, Baba said, still looking into the crackling fire.
“Now that you have taken her, I have nothing of value that you could take from me. I do not care about money. ”, you say as you light up another cigarette and smoke up defiantly.
“That, my dear, was not prudent. Sadly, now you have to face your final punishment”, Baba says as his assistants surround you and hold you by your limbs. They carry you to a room with stone walls at the end of a dimly lit hallway.
[[Room]]You reach Baba’s abode in total despair and throw yourself at his feet.
“Please let Aisha go. It is I who erred and it should be I who should be punished”, you plead.
Baba looks serenely into the fire and says, “This is how you will suffer for your mistakes. You had been warned. There is nothing that can be done now.”
You walk out of the door resignedly, tears streaming through your eyes
[[One year later]]They throw you into the dark room. You look around and notice that there are nozzles on the wall .
You jokingly comment “Are you going to give me a bath.”
Suddenly, Baba’s voice started echoing through the room.
“When something gets rusty, we have to cleanse it. It’s time we clean up Mother Earth from the filth. The filth shall be obliviated by the very filth it spreads”
“There is an allegation on you that you had smoked 22793 cigarettes.”
You : Okay...
Baba : You had also used your all three chances.
You : Yes, so….
Baba : Just like Hilter purifies Germany by putting Jews in a smoke chamber, now you have to survive your 22793 cigarettes.
[[Smoke starts coming out from nozzles]]After a year of trying to move on, you reach Baba’s abode and see him busy in meditation. You sit there and reflect upon the past year.
Baba opens his eyes and enquires about your well-being. You start smiling and then suddenly that smile breaks into a laugh and you say, “My whole life I thought that money, love or power can give me anything and make me smile. But, truth is I have the power, I have the money but I am not happy.”
“I started smoking because it seemed cool but it slowly turned into a habit. When my marriage was in shambles, I tried to stop but in vain”, you say, your voice breaking.
Baba tries to calm you down, “It’s not necessary that every trial is a win. Sometimes, we have to lose someone for the greater good in the long run”
You calm down, apologize to Baba for disturbing his meditation and stand up to leave.
[[Turn around and start walking towards the door]]
[[Ask Baba for a favour]]“Wait, you deserve a reward for the patience and restraint you have shown over the last year.”
Baba shows you two cigarettes and asks you to smoke one along with him. You resist but Baba insists that this is the reward for your understanding, resilience, love and dedication. “This cigarette is free and no price will be taken for it. This is the reward of a Guru for his devoted patient.” he adds.
[[Take the cigarette and smoke]]
[[Politely refuse the cigarette]]“Now, that I no longer have Aisha, the world is barren to me. Money and power no longer hold the allure that they used to. I want internal peace of mind and for that I implore you take me under your wings and guide me to the path of peace and happiness.”
You become Baba’s disciple and you devote your life to help people like you to quit smoking.
[[The End]]Baba and you put cigarette between your lips. You light up your cigarette and take a drag while Baba starts coughing and goes to sit on his chair. He asks you to complete your cigarette. You complete it, greet Baba and leave. As you turn back to take a look, you see Baba standing there in the doorway with Aisha, looking very disappointed. You try to step towards her but the gates close.
You shout your lungs out for someone to open the gate until you realize that the reward was Aisha and not the cigarette. You realise in despair that you lost the last chance of getting her back.
[[The End]]You refuse the offer even though Baba insists a lot. In the end, Baba then points towards the gate. Gates open, and you are blinded by the bright light that streams through the door.
Gradually a silhouette becomes visible.
[[Approach the person]]To your total delight, you realise that it is Aisha. Overwhelmed, you embrace her tightly, tears rolling from your eyes.
“I told you that it is not necessary that every trial is a failure but it’s also not important that you have to win to earn something.” Baba says.
“Now, take her and go before I change my mind.”, he adds with a chuckle
You and Aisha start leaving the abode. Baba says aloud,“And remember, smoking is injurious to health.”
[[The End]]You call her one last time but her phone is unreachable again. You are now determined about leaving Aisha and focusing on Richa. You take your phone and
[[Call Richa]]You tell her about everything that transpired. She empathises with you and says that she is coming over. A half hour passes by in silence before the doorbell rings.
[[Open the gate]]Richa embraces you tightly and assuages you that everything is going to be alright.
You open the wine bottle, pour it into two glasses. As the night goes on and you have gone through three bottles of wine, your inhibitions start to wear down. Both of you start dancing to music. Richa then lights up a cigarette and passes it to you after taking a puff. Inebriated, your instinct take over and you promptly take a long puff. Your phone is ringing repeatedly and so you put it on silent mode. These activities go on throughout the night.
[[Morning]]A loud knocking sound reverberates through the house. You wake up groggily and make your way towards the door. You open the gate to find Aisha’s brother standing there with two uniformed policemen.
You try to talk to the policemen but Aisha’s brother gets furious after seeing Richa along with you. He interrupts you and tells the policemen that Aisha had called him yesterday crying and told him that she was coming over to his place but she never did.
Now on seeing you with her, he claims that you killed his sister so that you could get together with Richa. You try to convince the policemen otherwise but Aisha’s brother’s story seemed more plausible. They handcuff you and take you to the police station.
[[Police Station]]Richa and your lawyer come to visit you at the station. You tell them the entire story from the visit to Bengali Baba to the disappearance of Aisha. Although not fully convinced, they try to locate the Bengali Baba but their search proved fruitless.
Tomorrow is your last day of trial and all the evidence points at you. You know that if you smoke again then you will have to pay the price and Baba will have to come out, Only then could you make a case against the Baba and prove your innocence. However, this might be dangerous as you don’t know what Baba has in store for you next. You take a cigarette and lighter from your lawyer and hide them in your cell.
[[You don’t smoke]]You smoke slowly in trepidation of what you would have to pay if Bengali Baba comes forward. After dinner, you come back to your cell but you start feeling dizzy. You lie down and quickly fall asleep
[[You go to sleep]]The case continues for years but you are acquitted as all the evidence was circumstantial and Aisha’s body was never found. You however have to live in society under the shadow of suspicion. You have been fired from your company and you live a lonely life working as a waiter for a small time caterer.
[[The End]]You wake up and see Bengali Baba is sitting in front of you.
Baba : I had warned you of the outcome of smoking a cigarette.
You : But I want to pay the price for the third one and then be eternally free from your contract.
Baba (ominously): Sure, if you survive the punishment
You : Yes and then you will be coming to court with me.
Baba’s assistants surround you and hold you by your limbs. They carry you to a room with stone walls at the end of a dimly lit hallway.
[[Room]]Within minutes, the room filled up with smoke. You start suffocating and you start banging the doors. You come to terms with the fact that your actions led to Aisha’s apparent death and the world will always behold you as her killer. Your eyes start burning up and as you close your eyes, memories flash across your mind. Slowly you lose your senses and as you come to grips with the afterlife, you struggle with the fact that you'll never get to face the things you were last thinking about.
Name : Aisha Kapoor Singhania
Job Description : Interior Designer
Status : Married to $name Kapoor
Lifestyle : Diligent, Soft-hearted, Can be a little intrusive