Skip to main content

Ode To Paan

I now understand why people say those who live abroad live by the Gmail and Facebook. You are so cut off from everyone that you do log on for a few hours everyday just to be in virtual touch. More so, if you have not got a job yet. So I now have a G &F habit, almost replacing the paan :)

Funny how when friends ask me if I miss Delhi my prompt reply is "I miss paan". I get ample advices on overcoming or rather coming to terms with this vice I inculated over years of staying in Delhi and being surrounded by paan-wallahs, a few of whom had become my friends too.

Sanj: u missing delhi
me: no paan
Sanj: why don't you grow paan ka pattha at home
me: trying to grow chillies at the moment

me: and nowadays i am always wearing my heart on my sleeve. i snapped at laurie one day and i said this is the most vulnerable stage of my life - without a job, without my family, without my PAAN!
scribe: PAN... did i hear it right?
scribe: you are a SPECIAL CASE
me: when gita went to the chanakya panwallah he asked her indira ke liye bhi pack kardu? and she told him woh toh ab yaha nahi hain... when she told me this it was emotions unlimited for me..
scribe: ohhhhhhhhh my god.. can't believe... the paanwala is thinking of you... please please write a blog on this... your homework for today
scribe: from where u have got this paan love?
me: does it take long to have a vice?
scribe: no not at all.. certainly not in your case
me: thank god i wasn't introduced to cocaine

Hence this piece. Lolo goes to the extreme. "Smoke if you feel the urge to paan". But if I were the type to smoke, I would have had no complaints, really. I miss chewing beetle nuts, laced with lime and 120. After a good dinner and lunch, I get an ultimate high!

Few years back, a young English colleague coined a term for me. "Paaning. So you are paaning", he would remark sometimes. I even taught him to buy me one. The first time, of course, he got me the horribly sweet sugar laden paan (not knowing the difference in the variety-filled paan shop), which Lolo, in our initial days of courting, started chewing to express paan-ship. When asked of the taste, he said it was like chewing wood. Prodded further, he said, "I have reached the saw-dust stage."

But as the relationship progressed, so was his loath for paan. I admit red paan stains on the streets, walls, etc., is not a pretty sight. He called it a peasant habit. Before coming here, my dentist had a field day scraping the paan stains off my teeth. "Kick the habit and start taking gutkha chewettes", she said, an advise I am following to date. I buy nicotine gums.

I have not eaten paan for a long time now but I would be lying if I say I don't pine for it every now and then. The power of paan - it doesn't let go off you completely. Like an old lover! Nostalgia to me comes wrapped in paan.


Sabarmati View said…
desi chick, missing paan....
i loved this blog... but for your bhagwan's sake, stop nicotine gums... they are no good...
enjoyed reading the other ones too..
take care

Popular posts from this blog

A Mad Man Or A Boor

What does one do when one encounters a mad dog? Or what does one do when one encounters a man with pre-fixed notions about everything in life, most specifically of women who live alone and give him some importance? The two are equivalent to me and basic intelligence says avoid the paths they tread like plague. But I chose to tackle them head on. I almost got rabbies. The mad man said [sic] " You sound like a very desperate person. A single and frustrated woman who is looking for anyone to leave a comment on your blog so much so that you wouldn't even spare a spammer ." Spammer being, the first comment on the previous post is apparently a spam, an advert for T-shirts. Bummer! I thought it was a handsome Spaniard or Latino, so I had replied "Hi Rodrigo", hoping to take the conversation forward offline. Anyway! All this the mad man found out. I didnt. Sure, I dig comments because I love the spontaneity and intelligence of my friends. And I didn't invite the ma


Two million people at the National Mall in Washington alone. The world watched too as Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. So did I. I rudely cut roomie's soap operas and switched to CNN to witness history being created. Some day I may live to tell the tale of how Barack, the much touted Afro-American President of the United States, stumbled with his swearing-in oath. I was a bit disappointed as I watched the man who had run the most successful of election campaigns, the man who Americans were pinning their hopes on, take his oath. Clearly, he was under too much of a pressure to be the best. So before Chief Justice John Roberts could complete the first sentence, there was Obama abruptly breaking out into his first names... " I Barack Hussein Obama.." and then waited for the judge to complete the sentence.. The next line was even taxing. He stopped short after two words... " That I will excute ..." and then Justice Roberts cont

Good Girls Don't Drink?

I have been disturbed by the news coming out of my region – the northeast of India - where a teenage girl coming out of a bar at 9:30 pm was molested and beaten by a group of 20 men. The news has even found its way down under for the shocking nature of it. Tabloids and even TV have carried the news. I have always prided myself in belonging to a region that is known for its high tolerance and where women are generally safe and independent. But I have always felt a bit squidgy about Guwahati unlike the rest of the seven sisters. The place is so like the rest of India in many ways, dirty and claustrophobic. That explains why bars are looked upon as sleazy places and women going there beaten up as with the recent case. Just 150 km away is Shillong, the place where I grew up. Night clubs thrive there and till date there has been no case of attacks against women. Reading the news, I am appalled by some of the reactions. “But the girl was drinking,” or “only prostitutes visit that