A Tripoto fan had sent us a very curious email. He wanted to know the crazy things Indians do with leaves. We thought the question was interesting enough to warrant a post. So here it goes.
If legends are to be believed, the Paan was the chewy, leafy, slimy aphrodisiac that made the royalty come out and hang. This chaotic, palm-sized combo of Areca Nut, tobacco, and herbs wrapped in wet Betel leaves serves a variety of purposes ranging from being used as an offering during auspicious occasions to after-dinner digestives. It is mentioned in early Sanskrit texts as one of the eight enjoyments of life. The Kama Sutra lists it as one of the sixteen adornments. You get the drift.
Try this at your neighborhood Paanwalla after a tongue-inflaming Indian meal and be prepared for an oral scarlet-fest that would make Tarantino go weak in the knees. Open wide, folks!
The big bad grandaddy of every smoothie ever conceived, Bhang is a foamy, milky, repackaging of ‘certain’ plants your Botany teacher was secretly high on. A toned-down, lip-smacking avatar of the Cannabis leaf, the drink is one of the primary reasons the plant is not criminalized in India. Instead, we have Govt. authorized Bhang shops whipping out this fountain of fun by the jug. Sadhus get wasted on this in hopes of boosting meditation and, in turn, reaching spiritual ecstasy. If that isn’t reason enough to dive into a pool of Bhang, then we suggest you get some help.
Born out of a highly profitable mating session between tobacco leftovers, sun-dried leaves and the Gujarati business acumen, the Beedi is the cigarette’s young, unpretentious sibling who abhors fancy makeovers and embraces counterculture. Made by hand-rolling tobacco flakes in Tendu (Indian Ebony) leaves and then held together by a single thread, these smoke-sticks pack an organically potent punch with almost 3 to 5 times higher Nicotine levels compared to Cigarettes.
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