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Smoking & drinking due to peer pressure || Acharya Prashant, at AIIMS Nagpur (2022)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
100 reads

Questioner (Q): Good evening, sir. In many places, especially in college, it is seen that the person starts drinking or smoking just because of peer pressure because he has a fear that if he doesn't do this, his group will throw him out. So, what are your views regarding this concept?

Acharya Prashant (AP): What do you expect me to say? See, we do not know what to do in life, we do not know how to spend the evening, we have nothing worthy enough to dedicate our time to, so that's what we do. We try to identify with a group, and then we are forced in some way to do as the group pleases. All this is just ‘inner void’ playing itself out.

Why will you sit with random loafers and drink, and smoke, and what not if you had something worth doing in your life? Why will you do that? And why will you not do that if you have time to kill? And there are so many of us who simply have time to kill. Think of this: Time to kill . Why? Because you just do not know what to fill up your time with, because you do not know what is life. Life is time. You do not know who is the living one. You do not know the worth of each passing second, so you say, “I have time to kill,” and so you sit with someone. And frequently, it happens that when you come to college, and you start consuming animal flesh. These are the things you pick up typically in your first semester.

I don't know about the knowledge that you pick up, but these are the things that most of us generally do pick up: somebody picks up chicken; somebody takes a liking to mutton; smoking, drinking, and then we say, “Now, this is college life. This is what we, anyway, worked so hard for.” Somebody takes to chasing girls. They say, “This is the freedom that you get in college.” And at that time, it all appears so nice, so attractive, right?

Because you have cleared the entrance exam, so daddy gets you a Bullet (motorbike) or an Active (scooter), and then on the Bullet, you are another ‘Kabir Singh’ (protagonist of the movie Kabir Singh). There too the setting was a medical college. Then you can do this, do that, and you say, “Yes! I have arrived.” Yes, you have arrived in freshly-brewed hell that you have created for yourself.

These few years that you spend on campus are often the last opportunity that you can have to redeem yourself. After this, the world will swallow you intact. This is the last opportunity when you are within the protection of the walls of the campus and can learn about life and can safely make mistakes. Once you are out, you will be one among the millions; the same kind of average, mediocre, ordinary crowd that you find all around. Why do you want to become another ordinary person?

Oh, there are lakhs of doctors. Why don't you realize that this is your only chance not to be wasted? And the campus that you are in, I'm pretty sure it has so many facilities. There must be an extensive library; there must be badminton courts and tennis courts, and squash courts. I don't know, but all good campuses have those things. And there would be student clubs and societies you can participate in and excel in.

Instead, what do you want to do? Ride your bike through the city, and wear a t-shirt or sweatshirt carrying in bold “AIIMS NAGPUR”, hoping that some girl or boy would be impressed. Don't want to read. Don't want to go to the gym. Don't want to learn to swim. The campus has these facilities, right? Am I mistaken? You do have these things, but very few people are going to use them. I'm coming from my experience at IIT and IIM.

A swimming pool is there, Kabir Singh is busy smoking. Why learn swimming? And having swallowed gallons of beer, Kabir Singh is now like this (imitating a bulged-up stomach) . Why visit the gym? Somebody talked about the philosophers. They said that there is no place for philosophers in our education system. I suppose he named Kant and Hegel and Voltaire. I'm pretty sure these would be just names to most of you. Why don't you use your time reading them? Spending time with them is much, much better than spending time in your worthless group.

It's alright to be a loner sometimes. If great things can be done only in solitude, it's alright then to be solitary. If you find a great friend—wonderful! If you don't find a great friend, be alone and do what is right. And these seniors, please be very cautious of them. Who do you call as a senior? A fellow one year ahead of you? He is still a kid. He's pampering himself by being called a senior.

How are you a senior, dude? What makes you a ‘senior’? ‘Senior’ is a big word. But then that's what you do as juniors or freshers: you rush to the so-called seniors, and the senior himself is a big idiot, and he's dispensing free advice: “I'll tell you. I'll tell you how to live.” If you have to learn how to live, why not go to Plato or Socrates? Why go to your senior? Or is your senior above Socrates? But that senior indeed pretends as if: “I have all the funda. Come to me. Bol Bache, Kya Mangta? (Speak Kid, what do you want?).”

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRdouYwwFjk

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