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The Theeka Pan Experience

Another Sunday evening. With my wife not at home, I feel bored and decide to go to office and finish some pending work. After work, I go to a restaurant and have two delicious parathas. As I begin to walk home, I pass a paan shop where I had a meetha (sweet) paan the other day and had relished it. So, I go to the paan shop and not wanting to have the same flavour paan again, order for a theeka pan. I pay the guy and start walking home chewing the paan.

Within less than a minute of starting chewing the paan, I begin to feel extremely dizzy. I'm unable to walk straight. I was holding two water bottles in my hand and it felt impossible to hold them any longer. My body began to sweat and I started to feel slightly nauseous. I jut couldn't understand what was happening to my body. Wild thoughts start crossing my mind. Have I been sedated? Could this be the symptoms of some dominant major health condition which has just manifested? Was it the food at the restaurant? Or was it the paan?

I had already swallowed half of the paan by now. I quickly look around for a spot and spit out the rest. It was already past ten in the evening and there just seemed no way I could make it home, which was still about a kilometer away. Thinking quickly, I ran back to a restaurant where I have dinner generally. Terrified and not understanding what was happening to my body, I called up a colleague of mine living in the same building as mine. He came like a God sent person, and took me home.

After reaching home, I just fall flat in my bed. The feeling of nausea had increased and my body continued to sweat , the way it happens when you are running a high fever and then it suddenly comes down. I have a hard time trying to fall asleep and get up much earlier than usual the next day. I felt I had lost my appetite and didn't feel like eating anything much that day morning. However, by lunch, I had recovered and was feeling much better.

So, what had happened? Simple. The paan which I had ordered contained tobacco. The two varieties of paan that I have are Meetha (Sweet) Paan and Saada (Plain/Mild) Paan. For some reason, I wasn't able to recollect the latter name and instead asked for a theeka paan. The guy at the paan shop took it for a tambaaku (tobacco) paan which I had never had my life. And all the side-effects that I have mentioned above, were as a result of my first time consuming of tobacco.

This will be quite an episode that I'll remember all my life. I often wonder - Does it really take rocket science to understand that a substance that can affect your body so strongly, could also have extreme adverse affects on your health? Shouldn't this be the first sign to turn one away from smoking and nicotine. Yet, people get involved and addicted with it. Food for thought.


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