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Weed wide web
With all the legal issues and the stigma attached to marijuana, the weed circle isn't obviously an easy one to break into. It takes years of bonding with like minded smokers to be accepted unquestioningly.
So when 31-year-old Baljeet Singh moved out of Mumbai to work with the Delhi office of his Mumbaibased gaming firm, he had more than one reason to celebrate. There was the food - the paranthas and tandoori chicken - that he loved, but there was also a fringe benefit. His contacts from his college days were intact and the process of scoring his monthly fix in the Capital was by far a more pleasant experience than it was in Mumbai.
"I obviously couldn't ask my colleagues in Mumbai. I asked around and tried to find some on my own. But those dark alleys can be really intimidating. Once, when I was trying to rush a deal, I was handed a chunk of incense for Rs 2, 000, " he says, laughing.
But this dark side of Baljeet's life is taken care of in Delhi. "One thing other than happiness that money cannot buy is good, unadulterated weed. Unless you have your friends in the right places, you are going to come back with stuff spiked with shoe polish or herbs soaked in industrial alcohol. It gets worse and costlier every step down the supply line, " he assures you.
Baljeet's web of acquaintances does the needful for him. When they travel to the hills they organise supplies. "When my friends travel to the hills they get it from someone they know and I return the favour whenever I can - it is just like karma. Then all these guys have other friends as well. That way, all of us have at least a little available when we need it, " he says.
Baljeet claims that he doesn't really care about the legalities of using marijuana. "Even downloading music is against the law, but that really doesn't mean too much. Marijuana in the form of bhaang is legal in several Indian states, but I reckon things are okay as they are. Once grass is legalised, it will be easily available and it will eventually become a fashion statement - losing the fobidden, rebellious charm that makes it attractive in the first place. Then there will be the taxes, duties and the works making it all the more costly" says Baljeet.
After many years of knowing each other, Baljeet and his friends - and the friends of his friends - realise that what they give will come back to them sooner or later and this trust has served them well over the years. This is one network that runs on faith and a vital part of the code is never to do it for money.
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