Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Traditional Turns Trendy

Just like the old Dev Anand song, "Har fi kr ko dhuwe mein urata chala gaya ",who wouldn’t want to blow away their worries? But no, we aren’t endorsing cigarettes here. We are simply trying to let you know about a much cooler alternative. Hookahs! Yes, hookahs are back, and in a big way.

Haven’t you always been fascinated by this royal habit of blowing smoke? Haven’t you been mesmerised by its sound and by the way it’s consumed? If yes, then you’re in for a treat because hookahs are now considered an integral part of Indian-style dining. Restaurants which serve typical Indian fare have invariably added a Shisha menu as well with various flavours to choose from.This culture which was associated with aristocracy has now become a raving trend among the Gen-Y. Perhaps, it is its exotic nature that has won over the fans. Or probably the claim that the health risks involved are far lesser than normal tobacco consumption. It’s not been proven though. The hookah culture has its origin in India dating back to some 500 years ago. But it was also used in several other countries all over the world. Only the names were different. Narghile is the name most commonly used in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Albania, Bosnia, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Bulgaria and Romania. In Egypt, the Arabian countries of the Persian Gulf including Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia and in Morocco, Somalia and Yemen, the term used is Shisha. In Iran, hookah is called Ghalyun while in India and Pakistan, the name is most similar to the English hookah, Huqqa. In India, hookah was only smoked in rural areas but in the last few years, many hookah bars have come up in urban areas. In South Africa, Hubbly Bubbly, as it is colloquially known, is a popular social pastime. In countries like Malaysia and Philippines, it’s very popular among the youth. It’s in fact becoming increasingly popular in Spain, Moscow and other Russian and Ukrainian cities as well. In United Kingdom, Shisha bars exist in most of the major cities and so is the case in USA and Canada.

For Guwahatians, Addicted at Zoo Road will answer all your hookah cravings. And if you’re still not too keen on smoking in public, you can very well install a hookah at home. It’s not a big deal. You just have to procure one and simply follow the steps given here.

@ Put ice in the glass base of your hookah and get the water ice cold before smoking. This makes a smoother, more enjoyable smoking experience.

@ Try mixing lemon juice, orange juice, or some other fl avour with the water in your glass base.This will enhance the taste of your smoking experience.

@ You can store your Shisha tobacco at room temperature but it must be kept in an air tight container. This will keep your tobacco from drying up and losing its flavour.

@ When you first start smoking, try placing the charcoal outside of the bowl and working it around the edges of the bowl. The centre of the bowl should be the last place your charcoal is placed.

@ For a sweeter and perhaps, more flavoured smoke, you can add some wine to the top two inches of the water in the base of your hookah. It’s a happier smoke, and you can really taste the wine.

@ Because of its consistency, hookah tends to clump up. Before you pack the bowl, crumble it up in your fingers to spread it out throughout the bowl.

@ Try putting milk instead of water to make the smoke thicker.

@ Mixing and matching flavours is a fun thing to do when trying to create the ultimate fl avour.

@ Mixing mint with other flavours provide a cool refreshing taste.

@ It’s always good to blow out the smoke once in a while which gets accumulated in the glass base so that the smoke does not become stale. This helps in getting rid of some of the harsh flavours from the stale smoke.

@ It is suggested not to run water through the hose. Simply blow air through the hose after / before each use, to blow out the particles inside the hose. Occasionally, use a small amount of water/lemon juice and swish it around your hose.

@ Never light your cigarette with the coals on your hookah.

@ Never pass the hookah directly to another person. Always put it down first and let the next person pick it up.

@ Clean your hookah regularly. This will ensure you with the best quality smoke and an
superior smoking experience.
(The article got published in The Eclectic Vibes Sep2010 issue)

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