Indigo Warp

Freedom, love, and loss of identity in Melbourne

Thursday, April 14, 2005

What we did that summer

I mentioned to an Aussie colleague that some of us in India had a very Hollywood/MTV view of the West: sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. In typical Aussie fashion, he said, "That would be about right."

From my short experience here, it seems that the "drugs" part has some truth, at least until a few years back (new reports state that this is declining).

Many of my colleagues at work have tried some kind of drug in their youth, with marijuana being the most popular. A few have also tried drugs like LSD, heroin and the charmingly-named magic mushrooms. Since my colleagues come from different cultural and financial backgrounds, I'm thinking drug use was probably widespread, regardless of demographic.

They talk of drug use (or abuse, if you like) in a very casual fashion, the way my woman friends and I talk of trying smoking in college.
I remember smoking a cigarette with my friends behind a closed hostel door; we had lit agarbattis to mask the smell. Unlike in the countless Hindi movies we'd seen, we didn't start coughing at the first puff. It was incredibly easy to inhale the smoke, and so powerful and cool to see the smoke coming out of our nostrils.

Was it a stupid thing to do? I don't know. But we believed
that we could try it without fear of addiction--we were kept safe by the social taboos that made it difficult for us to buy cigarettes.


  • At 3:34 PM, Karthik said…

    So it is true. Girls do try smoking behind closed doors, although my wife vehemently denies it :)

    I tried a beedi once, and that'll make you cough right away, believe me.

  • At 8:35 AM, Sibyl said…

    I'm sure many (not all) of us Indian women have done that, especially if we had access to cigarettes (elder brothers were a good bet) and some privacy (hostels, unparented households).

    Never tried a beedi though, seemed too uncool and rickshaw-wallah types (sic) to try!

  • At 4:28 PM, Ms. World said…

    I think people in the West commonly preceive marijuana as a pretty harmless drug. I do think marijuana usage in the U.S. is somewhat common. I don`t think that most Americans are sitting around shooting heroin but I could be wrong.

    The idea that the West is sex, drug, and rock `n` roll is interesting. It may be that case in Australia.

    I think American life can be summed up as: money, power, sex, God, and celebrity.

    I can`t wait to read more from you!

  • At 2:45 AM, gini said…

    Jee whiz...I feel like you could have been my classmate. I have tried cigs and even beedis but never coughed either. My husband send me the link to your blog and highly recommended it!

  • At 11:35 PM, Vidya said…

    Hi Sibyl,

    I did it once in college too, while on the "excursion" in the third year. The 7 or 8 of us brave enough to try it locked ourselves up in a hotel room. Most of us were puffing away on a cig each (yeah, no coughing except from some of nervous girls) and the small room was soon filled with smoke. We opened the only window in the room - to find that there was a seedy kind of lodge next door, with guys in lungis lounging about! We hurriedly switched off the lights and laughed ourselves silly. Don't think it was stupid - I remember thinking I just had to try it once, and all the secrecy only made it more exciting!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  • At 6:14 AM, govind said…

    Found this page trawling thru indian thai restaurants......
    and ended up with confessions of naive college kids trying their first brush with sin. Might as well join in. When in 6th class,I tried to put a lit agarbatti into my mouth, just so to have the pleasure of blowing out smoke. you can guess what happened next!


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