As I keep hearing about a disgruntled Ajit Pawar who keeps backing the wrong horse and this time, landing up with just one seat in the Lok Sabha, I do remember he did motivate a man to do something right, and this was when a Maharashtra deputy chief minister had a bad habit of chewing tobacco!

Sitting on a dais at Islampur in Sangli, the deputy chief minister R.R. Patil heard Ajit Pawar openly ridicule him for his bad habit.

He did not retaliate. He did not swear revenge, he just went home and decided to kick the habit.

There were two things that struck me as I heard the report.

One, that he was able to take constructive criticism well, and two, that he had the will and the guts to kick a bad habit.

Years ago, a good friend of mine decided to do a turnaround and kick a terrible habit.

He was an alcoholic and a worse one I have not seen yet. Time and again there would be a call from people who knew we were friends, and I would have to pick him up from some gutter where he had fallen or gone to sleep after a night of drinking.

To get money for a drink, he would help push a handcart across Byculla bridge and get a rupee for the trouble. Mind you, he was an educated person.   

One day he decided to kick the habit.

I took him to my home, and remember the first night and the terrible eerie animal sounds that came from his throat as he went through his withdrawal symptoms.

The next day I put him in Sion hospital. He went through the whole rehab treatment and till date, over thirty- five years later has not touched a drop.

Wine women, tobacco, pornography and so many other addictions, how silently and effortlessly they wrap themselves around us the victim. The hardworking employee suddenly finds he has to get out every day at five to have his first drink. At first no one notices, but soon the boss does, colleagues report his strange behavior and a fruitful career gets halted.

Families are broken and the gutter or grave is the final stop.

Today I address two kinds of people; the ones who are slowly moving into addiction, and others who are already addicts. The cure is the same.

Do what the late Deputy CM did.

Put a full stop.

Throw away the pack, don’t look at the bottle, stop the drug habit, or don’t get drawn to pornographic content. Sure, there’ll be withdrawal symptoms. Any habit broken brings pain, or it wouldn’t be a habit, would it?

But finally, what a change there will be in your life.

Be you a man or a woman, stand firm and kick the habit in the gut.

It’s never too late to make a turnaround...!

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