My fascination with sheesha started a good five or six years ago, when the then-gorgeous Mocha Cafe - which specialised in thick, gooey milkshakes, heavily spiced Maggii noodles, and 'exotic' hookah flavours - opened up in Gurgaon. Soon after, whenever my friends and I would spend time together the presence of a sheesha pipe was almost an unsaid rule.

With sheesha bars becoming highly sought after in recent years, it's almost impossible to not bump into one no matter which city of the world you're in. When I travel, I love to visit a 'local' restaurant/bar/cafe/shady place where nargile is on offer. Some of my unforgettable sheesha experiences have been at a small, local Egyptian cafe overlooking the Pyramids, next to the Bosphorus, under the Galata Bridge in Istanbul, on the beach in Larnaca while soaking in the Mediterranean breeze, and in Bangkok's infamous Arab Street on Soi 3. 

While I was in Pattaya this June, my mom and I were on the hunt for nargile. But after much pacing up and down seedy sois (streets), we realised that we were more than ready to pass on the sheesha if it meant not having to sit in gaudily lit open bars crammed with older Caucasian gentlemen and very respectable women looking for a good time and blasting everything from Black Eyed Peas hits to ridiculously upbeat Thai electro-pop. Avoid.

Unfortunately now in Haryana there's a ridiculously unfounded ban on all public displays of anything hookah-related. Don't even ask. However, strangely enough, Utsav and I found what seems to be a licensed sheesha cafe the other day - sweeeet. One of our new go-to places to hang out this summer? Certainly. Pictures from the day are below. 

Sheesha, hookah, nargile, waterpipe, hubble-bubble - whatever it's called, wherever I am, I'm drawn. The ethereal aromas of fruity concoctions, from double apple, watermelon, grape and mint, and pina colada. The satisfaction you attain from the long, deep, slow drags from the pipe, accompanied by the bubbling tune of water rushing around in the colourful, adorned glass base. The billowy, white, cloud-like smoke that envelops you after even a brief exhalation. Bliss. 

More pictures to follow when I'm done going through my ridiculously unorganised archive of photographs. 


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