The thing he loved and missed was a smallish box filled with 2 dozen tiny packets of seeds. It was called Tulsi, a certain brand name of seed mixture. It was one kind of "sweet supari" or "paan masala" packets. We call them "chalia." There are lots of different varieties but it basically seems to be a variety of mixed seeds, nuts, and/or dried fruits. Sometimes there's chopped coconut or candy-covered fennel seeds.
He didn't buy the box that day but he did a few months later. And when we went to Pakistan the first time and loaded our bags with various things to take back to America, we didn't even think about it. But the second time we went to Pakistan we realized that pillow covers and silver platters are not that practical to schlep to America and we loaded our bags with boxes and boxes of various chalia mixes. Now they're everywhere in our house, in ever vase or covered container - reach your hand in and it's probable that's what you'll find.
I don't chew the stuff - never have. I've only tried the candy covered fennel seed and that was allright. I'm not adventurous enough for the rest of it. And there are a lot of varieties:
This is M's favorite kind. It's called Sunny. When we went to Pakistan last December we brought back 11 boxes JUST of the Sunny variety, and maybe a dozen more, 1-2 each of other kinds M likes. He still runs out of Sunny fastest, though. And anytime a family member comes from Pakistan, he asks them to bring a box or two of Sunny with them. We recently found it available for sale at one of the desi grocery stores we frequent. This is quite a development because back in 2003, you could only find one or two of the most common varieties for sale at one store, but now you can find quite a variety at many stores. Some things never change though, because when M saw the box of Sunny for sale, the first words out of his mouth were "SEVEN DOLLARS?!"
One more thing about Sunny chalia - it was the one thing that disgusted me the most during my pregnancy. I just couldn't take the smell and it seemed to linger for hours!
|This variety is called Naz, and M says it's for girls. It's a lightweight's version because it doesn't have any of the hardcore things like areaca or bettel nut, and it's got more of the sweet things in it like coconut and candied fennel.|
Happy early Thanksgiving!