paan khaye...

I first noticed him standing across the road, arms akimbo, watching us take photographs. After a while he came over unasked and posed confidently for Anil. He had this glint in his eyes, a wide open smile showing teeth stained with betel nut juice and a look suggesting we were bananas taking photographs of people passing by. And when I saw the photographs I was thrilled as Anil had captured him beautifully on film.

This piece gets its name from an old hindi song called “Paan Khaye Saiyan Hamaro” since it was on my mind when I was painting. There’s been a long tradition of eating Paans ( betel nuts, anis and other mouth fresheners rolled into a betel nut leaf ) in South Asian culture. There are mentions of paan as early as the 3rd century in the Kamasutra. It is supposed to be a digestive and a mouth freshener but is an acquired taste. Those who indulge swear by it. My husband is a big fan. A few Paan related clicks for those who’re interested in finding out more.

Wikipedia entry on Paan
Muchhad Paan – sells paan online!!
Watch a paan being made.
Hear the Bollywood song “Paan Khaye Saiyan Hamaro

Oil on a 10″ X 12″ canvas board. Photo reference copyright Anil Advani used with permission.