One sales technique that Pakistani grocery stores have mastered is that they put saunf (fennel seeds), chaalia/supari (betel nut) and pan masala (English translation unknown) packets near the cash register. When you think you are all done, your hand invariably goes towards the jar full of these products and the result is you end up paying more than planned. I went through the same trap today. After buying grocery I put my hand in a jar full of assorted saunf/supari. After I pulled out a fist full of these products, a couple of items in my collection made me laugh out loud. Take a look below.
These must be the proudest owners of any product in the world because they dare to print their own photos on each and every packet of saunf supari. One product claims to be of ‘Export Quality’ while other prints their Trade Mark number to safeguard their property right; or maybe to suggest quality!
By the way the person on left photo is the same as in center photo. The difference is probably of ‘shadi se pehle’ (before marriage) and ‘shadi ke baad’ (after marriage) photos.
Another clue is the do dhaari uljhi lat (bidirectional intermingled hair) on his forehead. yaqeen aa gaya? (do you believe it now?)
Baghban(gardener) and Bombay are the two product lines of the same company called Ansa Food Products of Karachi.
Now mazaaq bartaraf (sarcasm aside), the saunf supari product from Pakistan is a very colorful bunch. You can see from our cascaded photo collection above that they come in all sorts of eye catching designs with and without the photo of proprietors.
Sometimes however, the packaging doesn’t get aligned very well with the printer which results in occasional out of focus printing. For example look at the ‘Tasty Gold Sweet Supari’ packet in center above. Moustaches of the proprietor seem to have got superimposed on his nose instead. The eye-brows also seem to align more towards than forehead than eyes. This priniting quality ultimately gives the product a supernatural touch.
I have singled out two images for special mentioning because they are special. Photo to the right is Shahi Saunf/supari product which is considered as one of the best in quality. I believe it is also the most sold product in its category. This particular image is a Classic product line. The word Classic is however wrongly pronounced here by putting a ‘zer’ under ‘kaaf’ which will make its urdu pronunciation as ‘Kilasik’. Wrong. Use of ‘zer’ was unnecessary here. Owners of Shahi supari don’t know they are wasting red ink by printing extra characters on every packet. Shahi Supari also has a white and red color ‘non-classic’ package which is slighlty cheaper and sells even more than the ‘classic’ brand.
Photo to the left has a nostalgic value for me because this is perhaps the most eaten chaalia (betel nut) in Pakistani University class rooms. I’ve spent many a boring lectures by sharing packets of ‘rasili’ among my class mates. usually one guy used to open a packet of ‘rasili’ in the class and then it was distributed one chaalia (betel-nut) at a time to the whole bench. That single chaalia was then chewed for next 45 minutes until the lecture was over.
NOTE: Eating too much betel-nut is muzir-e-sehat (bad for your health). One should only buy it once in a while when visiting a desi grocery store.