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Published on Oct 28, 2011
Harjinder asks me -- "How about a Paan brother?"
One afternoon after a game of cricket in Bombay, Harjinder decided to take me to "Muchhad Paan Wala" (Man with a mustache who makes paan). Of course the paan wala had a mustache large enough to back his claim of being called "Muchhad" (a person with a large mustache). Muchhad talked to us about the qualities of eating a paan while he prepared a large one.
(via Wikipedia) Chewing of betel and areca nut dates back to the Harappan empire. It was a custom of the royalty to chew areca nut and betel leaf. Kings had special attendants carrying a box with the ingredients for a good chewing session. There was also a custom to chew areca nut and betel leaf among lovers because of its breath-freshening and relaxant properties. Hence, there was a sexual symbolism attached to chewing them. The areca nut represented the male and the betel leaf the female principle. The areca nut is still used along with betel leaf in religious ceremonies and also while honoring individuals in most of South Asia.