So, if it's part of your culture it's 'excusable'. We are talking about the hookah of course. Recently, the Delhi government withdrew the 12.5 per cent tax on hookah on those very grounds. So what says the urban sheesha generation?
Does it make a difference to them? DJ Iggy seems think otherwise. "I smoke hookah because I like the taste of it. Whether the government wants to cut down on the tax or not, it really doesn't matter". But not everyone is nonchalant. Says real estate agent Sidharth Puri (34), "It's a bad move.Those who have it will have more and those who don't might just opt for them." Now that sounds a bit bizarre unless you are assume that city nightclubs will piggyback on this tax exemption.
Party animal and cigar czarina Ameeta Seth says, "I don't think it will encourage people. It just might make it slightly more accessible to nightbirds if restaurants include them on the menu." But are lounger bars actually doing something? Says Dhiraj Arora, MD, Shalom, "No, but who knows. Eighty per cent of our clientele are affluent. If they can pay Rs 1500 for a meal, they can pay more for a hookah."
But how harmful are these hookahs really? Says Ashu Chugh, Chef at Hookah Bar, "The hookahs we sell are imported. They are flavoured. And they are not harmful like the ones in rural areas." Rashmi Monga of RPM Lounge however is a hookah loyalist. She says, "It's better than smoking a cigarette. At least hookah is filtered. It doesn't kill, for sure."