Paan, on the go

Mobile paan unit

From Old Delhi. A paanwallah’s carry-kit. Readers of this blog know of my flirtation (obsession?) with paan. While I don’t actually chew it all that much, every now and then I jones hard.

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My regular paanwallah

My paanwallah

Fondly referred to as the disco paanwallah in Green Park market.

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Protected: Spice up your holidays with some paan

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A taste of India on a Logan square street

Ahhhh, paan, my weakness

Missing all things India, while in Chicago, I made Kelly drive us up to the Desi section of Devon Avenue. We perused markets and walked past windows of gold jewelry and saris and smelled spices that transported me home. And then we finally found what I had wanted most: paan.

Kelly also became my victim, because she agreed to try paan — my kind of paan, tobacco paan — without really knowing what it was. I explained a bit about tobacco and betel nut and offered to get her the mitai version, but she wanted to have whatever I was having. Kel is brave, longtime friend.

From a little convenience store we got it wrapped to-go, after I surprised the paanwallah by ordering in Hindi.

I also explained that I would document her eating it for blogging purposes. The photos below are the outcome of that fun afternoon experiment on the street outside her apartment in Logan Square.

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In Rajasthan, they chew the paan

Delicious but disgusting

A paanwallah prepares an order from a loyal customer.

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Ok, this is just gross

Bikaner was bad for the teeth

When Joel was visiting last month, he and I had a little love affair with paan. Normally, it’s a special treat for me — because I know it’s a bad habit — and I have it maybe once a month. Well, Joel and I kinda went nuts and chewed the paan a few times a day.

The above shot comes from Bikaner, as we were about to board a bus. Needless to say, we each took window seats in the back and spat into the breeze.

It was all in the name of our latest music video project that has stalled in production as I don’t have a regular power source these days.

MOUNTAIN WATCH: I’ve been Sikkim four days have yet to see Kanchenjunga (or really anything other than the Himalayan foothills) because a near-constant layer of fog and mist has given me a visibility ceiling of maybe 1,500 feet. I’ll keep you posted, but I’m probably going to have to get a lot closer. Pelling, maybe next month.

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Forgive me, this photo is disgusting

Nothing a good teeth brushing couldn't fix

Nothing a good teeth brushing couldn't fix

Cringe. I do when I see this photo, and I was there. Hell, it’s my own mouth.

This is the aftermath of paan, a wonderful Indian treat. It consists of areca nut, tobacco and sometimes spices or paste wrapped up in a betel leaf. The resulting little triangle of goodness goes into your mouth where you chew it, suck on it, tuck it into your cheek and slowly spit it out.

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