Saturday, April 15, 2006

Get your fix here

This is one of the busiest paan wallas in Kings Circle. I've never tried his paan leaf filled with betel nut, tobacco, spices and sugars (though woman do eat paan, it is pretty much taboo for a woman to buy paan from a paan walla), but others seem to like it. All afternoon and evening, this older Muslim man dressed all in white does good business, supplying Kings Circle's addicts and recreational users with cigarettes, bidis, paan, and supari.

9 Comments:

Blogger Kris said...

interesting ! i really wonder how it tastes ..

10:15 PM  
Blogger Dean Harvey said...

sorry to show my ignorance but what drug is it?

12:51 AM  
Blogger ljw/jlm said...

the intoxicants in paan can either be tobacco or betel nut - but it may just contain spices, sugar, and dried friut (lime paste, coconut, etc). betel nut and tobacco are addictive, but many people claim to chew it as a digestion aid...yeag right. the betel nut has a red color, which stains chewers' mouth and teeth (and rots them too). ominpresent red spotches - the result of chewers spitting out the tasteless core and accompanying red paan juice - can be seen on all Indian streets and sidewalks (plus those in Indian enclaves like Jackson Heights, NY and Devon in Chicago).

10:14 AM  
Blogger Rajesh Dangi said...

great one....just been in mumbai last weekend!! nostalgic...

2:24 PM  
Anonymous jinkus said...

Betel nut is NOT addictive by itself, but it's the other stuff that is added by request: tamaku (tobacco), bhang, etc. What turns the the leaf red while chewing is a combination of lime (not the citrus but the mineral) paste and "katachu", another paste. Plain betel nut shavings on a variety of "paan" leaves really IS digestive, and NOT a drug. I've had occasional post prandial paans for over 50 years, my teeth are NOT red or rotten, and I'm NOT a druggie. So there!

6:16 PM  
Blogger ljw/jlm said...

Sorry Jinkus, no offense intended. I too actually like the stuff ocassionally - just never personally tried this particular paan walla's offerings. I don't know about paan leaf, but I too find the packaged supari to be a good digestive. I was mostly joking.

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No offence taken, ljw/jlm - just setting the record straight! The little "magai" paan leaf is very astringent by itself, and a fine digestive. There are two basic ways to eat "straight" paan (i.e. one without stimulants, drugs, or aphrodesiacs) -"sadha" (plain) or "mitha" (sweet) depending on how sweet the filling is. I prefer the "mitha", and only after a solid Indian meal!! once in a while.

12:29 AM  
Blogger Suresh said...

Nice blog. Its so refresshing to see expat viewpoint on things. I am from mumbai and after living in the US for many years moved back to mumbai and lived there for 6 years before I moved back the US. I have enjoyed rediscovering US and India back forth several times.
Finally just want to clarify the reason for the red stain in paan. Its a combination of lime (the mineral) and the betel leaf itself. You can try it but chewing just the leaf and a touch of the lime paste. And no its not addictive or intoxicating by itself unless tobacco is added to it.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous out4fun said...

Quote: "though woman do eat paan, it is pretty much taboo for a woman to buy paan from a paan walla"

That's not true at all, you know. This is Mumbai and nothing is `taboo' for women here! Hell! Nothing is taboo for anyone in Mumbai! All the same, nice pic and I really enjoy your accompanying notes.

12:20 PM  

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