The sun was about to set down, the blue color of sky was replaced with that of tangy orange and red, as the mighty orange star emitted enough light to make everything partial visible, yet dark. He loved evenings, he loved the cool breeze that embraced his body, and the sight of the birds flying from beyond infinity to their nests. He loved staring into the infinite sky, as for him the clouds were the best building materials for building a home of imagination. He stared into his watch, and sighed. Soon, this sky would be no more here, rather replaced by another one which resembled the current one just different by the number of stars. This had only one, yet provided enough light for the every living organism on this planet, where has the later had infinite, looked beautiful, yet of no use.  He walked up slowly to the nearest ‘Paan Dukan’, took a crippled ten Rupee note out of his wallet and said exactly the same sentences to the shop owner as he had always been doing since the last few years.

The words erupted out flawlessly from his mouth “Bhaiya, Ek Gold Flake dena”

The cool wind was flowing at its best, it was soothing, yet enough powerful to not let a single match stick burn. After three futile attempts, throwing away the -not-use-of-anything- matchsticks he finally asked the Shop Keeper for a lighter.

“Kya Bhaiya, Ek Cigarette bhi nahin jal raha aapse aaj” The shop keeper said with a smiling face and a talkative mood.

He frowned, shrugged his shoulders and replied “Kya karein Bhai, aaj kal din hi kharab chal raha hai, Issi liye hi to Cigarette pite hain hum” as he grabbed the lighter with an annoyed face.

Covering his mouth side wise  to prevent the air from extinguishing the flame again, he finally lighted the Cigarette with a small smile smirking in his face. He made sure to light it few more seconds than normally the time he took, for as it meant as a roar of triumph to him.

As he dragged the first puff of smoke deep into his body, it made him feel good. The momentary dryness of his throat was infinitely small and absurd when was compared to the dryness of his thoughts. He suddenly had a flashback, of his life. He had never used the term ‘life’ for the ‘days he had lived until now.’

He thought of the time when he was a child. The memories of that time were cloudy, yet he could feel as a 4 year old boy again. He saw his parent’s contented faces wrinkled with joy and full of pride. Unlike other children, their son didn’t cry as they left him on his school for the first day of his education. They were happy, he was happy.

As he went up for the next puff, the time rolled ahead. He was now 8 years old, the best in his class. His parents never missed a chance to tell others, how good their son was. Everybody loved him, except himself.

The third puff was for a much shorter duration. He found himself throbbing a little bit. He felt it was due to Cigarette, as he tried to avoid the in surging thoughts of his childhood. Alas, He couldn’t. Or maybe he just didn’t want to.

As he took the fifth and sixth puff within an interval of a second to completely fill himself up with nicotine smokes, he felt uneasy. His thoughts were again pulled back to the time when he was 12. He remembered how stubborn he use to be, for a boy of his age, excelling in competitions and studies, he was compulsive. He had innumerable fights with his friends most of the time, and was left alone. He often sulked in his own room, as he shuffled his feet under the covers.

The seventh and Eighth puff made him feel slightly Nauseated, The Gold Flake had kept upon its mark yet again. The grip of his back against the wall loosened slightly. He now went back to  the age that he liked and hated simultaneously. He was 15, a normal teenager. This was the very year, when for the first time he got an unusual feeling when he saw a girl of his age. Within the next two to three years, he realized that he was in love with her. But he was disappointed when she had refused his proposal. He was distracted for a while, which in turn led to horrid results of his on exams. His parents counselled him for 3 hours about love, about girl, and about How he should study and get a job that paid huge salary. And still, he ended up screwing the entrance exams. He hated her, He hated himself even more.

The Ninth and Tenth puff took him 3 years back. When he had joined a local and not much famous private engineering college because he was unable to score good in entrance. He had finally realized how his Utopian dreams had collapsed, but he had promised himself to be a good guy.

The Eleventh puff was a special one. As it took him back to the time when he had first tried weed. He was afraid and nervous, yet he did. Booze started being a daily part of his routine. He was desolated and emotionally drained. All he need was to be high. He had eventually lost himself. He had lost what he was. Nothing could save himself the insatiable urge of his for Weed and alcohol. He started remaining lost for most of the time, lost in intoxicated and psychedelic influenced dreams. He did finally realize what it had done to him, as the time progressed, but it was late, too late.

The Cigarette  was now just about to die, his lips had already started feeling the heat from it. He sighed as he saw the new found commonality between the cigarette and his dreams, his aspirations, and his future. Both burning, and about to die. He took a last and twelfth drag from the cigarette despite the heated smoke almost burning his lips. He didn’t care about the heat, he simply didn’t care about anything.

He stood up, raised up the cigarette, inviting the nature to smoke once, inviting her to embrace the situation he was in . The sudden blow of wind replied him after 3 minutes as a thin column of smoke faded away into the air. He smiled. Tossing the bud to the ground, and moving his feet at the same time to crush it, he tried to bury the bud as much deep as possible into the sand with the help of his shoes. It was a special cigarette after all, an object that had recollected his past in few minutes. He stared upon the sky, as the moon now being partially visible, and so did the stars. He felt an unusual urge to count them, as he started One, two, three, four…. And he was lost. He did lose. The grimace on his face was back again. He stood up, as he tried to figure out the maelstrom of thoughts, and got ready to prepare for his interview to be held the very next day.

Cigarette Bud