The Banjaara’s Hookah Heritage

The Pagal Banjaara having grown up seeing an authentic brass-finished (unused) hookah in her living room, had always been mighty curious about its functioning and usage. In her living room it was just a show-piece, but by the time the banjaara had turned 15, hookah smoking had become a trend in the city. Little hookah-bars had started coming up on main roads and in dingy alleys, but the banjaara considering herself still young and unready, had steered clear of these foggy joints that beckoned most invitingly and looked like the inside of a genie’s lamp.

Days passed by, turned into weeks, months, years, and the banjaara flew away to a far-off land to study business and validate her intelligence with a degree. There she tried her first drag from an enchantingly beautiful, long, emerald green hookah in a comfy shop whose insides could best be described as “spongy” (something to do with smoke absorption). The pagal banjaara, at her first drag, had expected to cough out her lungs, but surprisingly that didn’t happen. It felt natural to her, like an extension of herself. A few more drags and she felt relaxed; it was like exhaling all her worries and tensions, and in those fragrant, smokey moments of the night, the banjaara knew that this was going to be her vice in life.

The pagal banjaara would like to spread the happiness she found in her hookah with fellow wanderers. So sit back and read on as she takes you on a step-by-step guide to making a delicious, calming hookah. This, of course, is just the banjaara’s own idea of a good hookah…

Step 1 is to buy yourself an inexpensive hookah either from a local store or online. A hookah similar in size to the one I use can be found at:

Step 2 is to equip yourself with;

i) squares of aluminium foil, which you can either buy from the local hookah store or cut out at home from larger rolls of aluminium foil.

ii) sheesha flavour (choose from the hundreds available) in different sized packs. I swear by Al Fakher flavours because of their texture and quality. In my experience non-berry flavours tend to taste more natural than berry flavours (Cranberry, Strawberry, etc.).

iii) instant lighting coals. These come in circular tablets and burn relatively quickly compared to regular coal blocks).

Step 3 is to prepare the hookah.


i) fill the water jar about half with water, and attach it with the rest of the hookah.

ii) in the chillam that came along with your hookah, add a tablespoon of the sheesha flavour, and cover it tight with an aluminium foil square.

iii) pierce the foil with a sharp toothpick or needle, making tiny holes in two concentric circles, and place the chillam atop the rest of the hookah.

iv) using a pair of tongs, hold an instant-light coal and light it using a cigarette lighter. Once lit and partly orange, place the coal on the chillam.

v) wait for a few minutes and take a few drags from the hookah pipe to get the hookah started.

Your hookah is now made and you should see thick white smoke every time you exhale.


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