The coastal belt of Goa has become more and more prone to drug trafficking and the number of young addicts is growing everyday in schools and colleges and there is no way to weed out this menace, as part of The Navhind Times series Shaikh Jamaluddin spoke to some addicts who have kicked the habit, so that young generation could take a cue from them and save themselves from such disease. Here is one such case
PANAJI: I was a hardcore drug addict, the drug addiction made me an animal and ultimately took me to the stage of becoming a beast, says a 40-year old ex-drug addict, who leads a reformed life now, adding, "I would like to share the experience of my drug-addiction journey with the society, especially, with the youth, so that they may learn a lesson or two for life and stay away from the addiction; the experience could also help those addicted to drugs to recover from addiction.
"I was born in a respectable upper middle class Goan family. I have four brothers and a sister and had only father as a guardian. The stigma which I earned for my family through drug addiction will never be wiped out throughout my life and I am repenting it now,’’ he reveals.
"The absence of mother was the greatest shortcoming in my life. Had she been there, I feel she could have saved me from becoming a drug addict, he adds.
"No doubt my father never shirked away from the responsibilities and left no stone unturned to shower the love and affection of a mother on all of us but after all mother is mother and mother’s love cannot be replaced by father’s abstract love,’’ he believes.
"My father was a contractor and he had no time to see what we were doing. He was a busy businessman, and had left us at the mercy of an ayah but one thing that had to be appreciated of him was that he used to ask whether we were happy or not and casually inquired about our studies and never forgot to give us pocket money" he mentions.
This pocket money spoilt me and left a deep scar on my family’s fair image, he opines, adding parents who cannot monitor the spending of pocket money should never encourage their children with it.
When I was in Std VIII, we had gone on a picnic to Calangute; there, we were curious to see bare hippies, their lifestyle and living habits and when we spotted them in the most scanty clothes, specially, females at Baga we lost the equilibrium of our mind, he informs, adding, "we went very close to have a look at them and we started playing frisbee with them and then they shared a ‘cigarette’ filled with charas with us and we shared some Goan fresh ‘urrack,’ which a boy had stealthily brought in for the picnic. By dawn, we returned, but the taste of ‘cigarette’ was lingering on our tongues and few of us took to smoking then for joy and one day a classmate from coastal belt brought charas and showed us how to use it in a cigarette and then during recess we all enjoyed it. Then occasionally, he used to get cigarettes and we all used to smoke for joy and that joy culminated into a habit and then gradually we became addicts not only of charas but grass (ganja) heroine and started sharing syringes. In the absence of money I used to steal it from my father’s pocket."
For thirty long years, I used to buy drugs from some houses besides some shops engaged in selling garments. During off season they wind up, but suddenly mushroom once the season sets in, he mentions.
One day father caught me while I was stealing money from his pocket and he beat me black and blue with a belt, but that did not deter me from robbing; and out of pity he started giving me more money from that day onwards, and I went to Baga and spent the whole night there smoking different drugs and enjoying the company of foreigners, he recalls.
"Luckily father was out of station and no one complained about my absence. I told that I was at my friend’s place. But, ayah warned saying don’t remain away from the house or she would complain to papa. I was blessed with a gift of tongue and I could convince my dad very easily and he had firm faith in me that boosted my confidence to ask for more money and used them to buy drugs and enjoy the company of friends,’’ he narrates.
To add shame to my habits and character to be very precise, on the eve of my sister’s wedding I robbed gold bangles and sold them in the market and then on feast day took away new stitched clothes and sold them for drugs, he says adding, "my father lodged a police complaint and I was caught. Here, my father lost trust in me and I was exposed as a drug addict by the police and as such father expelled me from the house. Here, I lost studies gradually and stopped going to college out of shame."
"And when I did not get to smoke, I became mad and became a thief and started committing thefts and went to jail on several occasions,’’ he laments
"My father took me to several doctors, psychiatrists and religious and spiritual heads so that I could be kept away from drugs, but after a few months’ gaps I would automatically get pulled into the habit and in the end father lost hope," he informs adding, "once my friends enjoyed at my cost and I went berserk on syringes and other drugs. So out of fear, they brought me on a bike and dumped me on a garbage heap to die in the night and disappeared. In the morning my brother came with a ‘hatgadi’ and admitted me to a nearby hospital but even then there was no way out for me to renounce the drugs.’’
"I went on a 4-month spiritual trip and for a year, I was sober. But when they narrated about the pathetic condition I was in and the filth where I was thrown, I was shaken. When doctors could not find my veins to inject, I saw tears in my father’s eyes and with folded hands he said to me: "please my son, still my doors are open for you, give up dope for God’s sake," but again there were phone calls inviting me to enjoy new drugs.’’
But, then I took a firm decision. I threw my phone from the hospital bed and decided never to touch drugs again and go back to the filth and saved myself from further damage and now I am a refined person through the medium of religion and meditation, he says with a confidence.