Saturday, December 10, 2016






“If alcohol is queen, then tobacco is her consort. It's a fond companion for all occasions, a loyal friend through fair weather and foul. People smoke to celebrate a happy moment or hide a bitter regret. I love to touch the pack in my pocket, open it, savor the feel of the cigarette between my fingers, the paper on my lips, the taste of tobacco on my tongue. I love to watch the flame spurt up, love to watch it come closer and closer, filling me with its warmth.”
( Excerpts from an article by  Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel )

Smoking has often been linked with creative genius . And Albert  Camus is well known to have savoured his smokes though his lungs were emaciated by tuberculosis. It must have been clinically unwise for Camus  to continue smoking. Even if his doctors did not tell him so , he must have been  knowing  it well that  smoking  was  bad for his poor  lungs .Did the smoke that wafted out from his  mouth , connect him closely to his own self ?  Did he he get  more connected to the external world by puffing out the smoke and looking around in silence?

Once regarded  as the conscience of France, Camus   continues  to remain  a   profound influence on writers , readers  and intellectuals   the world over .  What opinion do people have about his smoking ? Let me say a few words :

Even when  French  law prohibits  “ The display, publicity, or advertising that explicitly or implicitly shows a person smoking”    , Camus remains an exception. Most of   his photographs ,  that are available on internet or in galleries ,  show him with  a cigarette or a cigar in his mouth  . Camus  would always keep his lips busy with cigarettes  or  cigars . 

 Many  writers have commented that   In absence of  his  cigarette or cigar , Camus would be restless  .  And that could be  true   since  smoking or for that matter chain-smoking  remained  a part of his persona . Can we  imagine Sherlock Holmes without his pipe, or Humphrey Bogart without his cigarette ? Can we  imagine Albert Einstein without his pipe ?
And finally we find him  smoking  in the car when it met with an accident that killed him and his publisher friend Gallimard .

Camus  smoked Gauloises  brand  cigarettes  . Gauloises has  been part of the French identity since 1910, when it was   first produced . This brand had heavy and light variety . This was a favourite brand of Jean-Paul Sartre and George Orwell  . In France,  during both the world wars, smoking Gauloises  was seen as an act of patriotism.  Along with Benson and Hedges , Camel  and Dunhill  , this brand was also imported by some shops in Srinagar  for sale  to European tourists .
Ironically, France is a country where   many people still smoke, despite cigarette packages  carrying a stern warning  “SMOKING KILLS” in bold letters.  This includes Catherine , his daughter  also .And if smoking is a vice ,  we need to ponder  over what  Abraham Lincoln has said :
"It has been my experience that those with no vices have very few virtues."

And Sigmund Freud said:-

 “Smoking is indispensable if one has nothing to kiss” 

Smoking  and cigarettes   find mention and space in some  prominent works of camus.  Meuersult  or   the  hero of his novel  OUTSIDER  appears to be uncertain and undecided whether he should smoke    at a place where his dead mother was kept.    Meursault also   feels for denial of smoking to him in the prison where he was kept.
Camus writes :

“Then he offered to bring me a cup of coffee with milk. I like milk in my coffee, so I said yes, and he came back a few minutes later with a tray. I drank the coffee. Then I felt like having a smoke. But I hesitated, because I didn’t know if I could do it with Maman right there. I thought about it; it didn’t matter. I offered the caretaker a cigarette and we smoked.”

“ I couldn’t understand why they had taken [the cigarettes] away when they didn’t hurt anybody. Later on I realized that that too was part of the punishment. But by then I had gotten used to not smoking and it wasn’t a punishment anymore”

“I didn’t like having to explain to them, so I just shut up, smoked a cigarette, and looked at the sea.”

            (Albert Camus, journalist Nicole Vedres and the actress Line Noro)


       ( Camus with Wife Francine after he won the Nobel Prize )
                        ( With Wife Francine )
   ( With wife and children.. Jean and Catherine  )

Camus’s   daughter Catherine says this :-

"My children and grandchildren never got to know him. I wanted to go through all the photos for their sake. To rediscover his laugh, his lack of pretension, his generosity, to meet this highly observant, warm-hearted person once more, the man who steered me along the path of life. To show, as Séverine Gaspari once wrote, that Albert Camus was in essence a 'person among people, who in the midst of them all, strove to become genuine'."  

( Avtar Mota )

Warning .

" Smoking is highly injurious for health. This post is for academic discussion only and in no way does it recommend smoking in any manner ." 

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1 comment:

  1. as well as another as soon as she got home in the afternoon, but she was finding it increasingly difficult to get through the school day without smoking. vape shop near me


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