After a recent family scandal on the nature of a hookah, I decided to to a little research on these beautiful and mysterious pipes. Form and function meet history and fun!
A hookah (Urdu: حقّہ, hukkah) is a single or multi-stemmed instrument for smoking tobacco, in which smoke is cooled and filtered by passing through water. It was invented in the Indian court of the Mughal emperor Akbar after the introduction of tobacco by the Europeans, in an attempt to purify the smoke. The hookah has gained popularity in the United States through hookah bars like the Red Fez in Austin, TX, which features beautiful mosaics and Middle Eastern artwork throughout. Often the tobacco smoked in hookahs is nicotine and tar free, and comes in many flavors. The Red Fez, for example, offers mango, apple, strawberry, apricot, rose, cherry, grape, banana, peach, mint and melon!
Boy oh boy, that Caterpillar. Sheesh. Or should I say shisha, the Arabic word for hookah!
Naturally, smoking of all kinds is detrimental to your health, but the jury is out about which is more harmful, cigarettes or hookah. On a basic carcinogenic level, it’s cigarettes, but as with all smoking, it depends on how regularly it’s done. I wouldn’t mind having one of these beautiful pipes, but only to look at, and of course when watching Alice in Wonderland!