Hookah, the traditional tobacco smoking pipe, long known as an integral part of the royal lifestyle, is making a comeback in Lucknow’s social circles. The new breed of hookah lovers are fascinated by herbal-flavoured hookahs.
The hookah lost its popularity with the advent of cigarettes from the West, but is now back in vogue.
Helping in its revival are many upcoming trendy theme restaurants, which are trying to blend tobacco with herbal flavours.
Sellers claim the herbal hookah is non-addictive, and in fact, good for health.
"We have all kinds of flavours - apple, pineapple, rose, chocolate, mixed. It is a good thing for people who want to quit smoking, as it doesn't harm the body,” said Babu Miyan, a hookah seller.
“The smoke comes filtered through water stored in the base of flavoured hookah. It is good for people of all ages. It doesn't affect the heart. It has zero percent tobacco," Miyan added.
Even those hooked to the hookah vouch addicts can use it to quit smoking.
"It’s good thing. If somebody wants to quit tobacco, he should have this hookah just once, only then he will realise the joy of smoking this hookah. It is very common in big hotels nowadays. They charge 200 rupees for smoking for an hour," said Raheed Hussein, a hookah lover.
The new trends emerging are of non-tobacco hookahs with herbal flavours. Several modern restaurants are famous for this. The tobacco-less hookah has become a matter of status.
Hookah lounges are mostly found in college towns and urban areas and are regarded by some as a novel and chic way to socialise.
A hookah is a multi-stemmed, often glass-based, water pipe device for smoking. A hookah operates by water-filtration and indirect heat.
It can be used for smoking many substances, such as herbal fruits and tobacco. Depending on the locality, hookahs are known by many names, such as a shisha/sheesha, nargeela/nargile/narghile/nargileh/narguilé, argeela/arghileh/arguilé, okka, kalyan, gewat suckre, hubble bubble, or ghelyoon/ghalyan.
Many of these names are of Arab, Indian, Turkish, Uzbek, or Persian origin.