Paan shops are all over in almost every city of India though more dominantly in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Varanasi is most famous for its supari, maghai paan and surti.
Here, I am describing about a shop owned by Lakhhapati , popularly known as Lakhhi among his large number of customers in DehraDun . Shop means here a small Kiosk of probably of the size of 4x4x6 feet , made of wood- a very temporary kind of structure, could be moved easily from one place to another.Lakhhi,s kiosk was located at the corner of St. Joseph School on Rajpur Road ( around 16, Rajpur Road ) across famous Astley Hall of DehraDun. It was a prime location, at least in 1960s.Lakhhapai was the most popular and famous name for paan eaters in DehraDun. His kiosk was always crowded with the customers. He was busy from early morning until late in the night.No wedding party would be over without serving Lakhhi’s paan.
I used to stop by almost every day at his kiosk while going to office. Interesting things about him and his shop:
1.My friend , Mr Mathur, once asked him some questions which he replied very honestly and humorously; He asked ” Lakhhi , is it your name Lakhhi or you are Lakhhapati also ? He replied ” certainly Sir, with the Grace of God and your well wishes , I am ” ” you see the number of customers at my KHOKA (kiosk) , No rent to pay for the khoka, no maintenance , no electricity or water bills, no assistance required, small investment on my ingredients( paan, kathha, chuna, supari surti etc.), on SALES TAX, No INCOME TAX to be paid; simple living , no show offs; so over the years, I have certainly become Lakhhapati” How interesting was his answer and his state-of-affair;
2.Another time , Mr. Mathur said him jokingly, that ” Lakhhi, I like your name ” He very promptly and smilingly replied ” Sir you take this name, I will find some other one ” ( आप यह ले लीजिये, में कोई दूसरा ले लूँगा ).
3. I told him once that Lakhhi your paan is really special, it gives very pleasant feeling while chewing it, that is what perhaps most of your customers appreciate and praise your paan. Then I asked him if he has not been using any tobacco or kimam etc. in my paan. He very smilingly replied ” Sir, there is no paan without these things and no one would like it without them. I have been using them for everyone for all these years and now all of you are so accustomed and addicted that you will like only Lakhhi,s paan ” (सुरती , किमाम के बिना भी कोई पान होता है ? आप सभी बरसों से येही खा रहें हें ).
Interesting episode of Lakhhi paanwala. I still remember his smiling and simple face and humorous style of dealing and behaving with his customers. He was the best in DehraDun for his paan.