The naswar experience

The porter removed a small bag from the chest pocket of his shalwar kameez and took out a green crumbly lump of what looked like fibrous plasticine. Breaking off a piece and rolling it between his grimy fingers he prodded it up between his gum and top lip.

He grinned at me through bloodshot eyes.

β€œNaswar,” he explained.


At first I assumed it was some kind of hash product. I didn’t think too much more of it but as the trek went on I noticed that nearly all the porters used this stuff. None of them spoke great English and couldn’t tell me what it was. They would smile and waggle their hand by their head to indicate the effect it had on them. Judging from the fact that so few of the porters smoked cigarettes I guessed then that naswar was tobacco-based rather than marijuana.

I was right. Back in civilization I spoke to a stall owner who sold cigarettes, paan, and naswar. He explained that naswar was made from green tobacco, lime and wood ash. It was so popular as it was so cheap; six rupees (around seven cents). I bought some – in the name of science –Β and took it back to the hotel room to try.

I opened the cellophane packet and gave the contents a cautious whiff. It smelled remarkably like cow manure. Undeterred I broke off a corner of the block and placed it up into my top lip as I had seen the porters do so nonchalantly on so many occasions. I laid back on the bed and wondered what was supposed to happen next.

The first sensation I noticed was a burning numbness in my top lip where I had stashed the green lump. That’s good, I thought, I guess it’s working. I wonder how long I keep it there for?

After five minutes I was feeling pretty chilled out. This isn’t bad I thought, a nice way of relaxing.

Another couple of minutes later and I realised that despite lying down on the bed I had a huge head-rush. The kind you get the first time you inhale from a cigarette. Time to abort I thought and tried to empty the stuff out of my lip into the bin without getting any on my tongue.

I thought about getting up to get some water to rinse my mouth but doubted whether I could get across the room my head was spinning so wildly. At the same time I started pouring sweat uncontrollably even though the room was cool and the fan was spinning.

Phew, probably a good thing I spat it out when I did I thought to myself. This premature thought was followed moments later by an uncontrollable urge to empty my bowels. I was doubtful I would get to the toilet in time but lurching across the room made it just in time. I evacuated faster than I thought possible and then remained squatting over the hole, panting and sweating.

Good lord, that’s a pretty powerful nicotine hit I thought returning to the bed, running my hand along the wall for support. I collapsed back onto the dark sweat stain on the sheet and prayed it was over.

But the naswar wasn’t done with me yet and gradually waves of nausea started building up from my stomach. It had now been about 15 minutes since I first took the naswar and probably 10 minutes since I spat it out. I lay there, trying deep breathing to quell the feelings of sickness but it was futile. Once again I ran to the bathroom, this time retching mutton karahi and still cold coca-cola into the squat, puking until my stomach was empty and I was dry heaving. Finally, I was spent. I went and lay on the bed and slept for three hours. And that was my naswar experience.


17 Comments on “The naswar experience”

  1. vjstanbridge says:

    Hi from NZ, Campbell! Rachael told me about your blog … great to catchup on your wild adventures πŸ™‚ Things are somewhat tamer here in Wellington!!

    • nzcampbell says:

      Hi Vicky, glad if you’re enjoying the stories. Hopefully I’ll start doing some real journalism again soon. I can’t say I miss being in the office but I do miss all you people from the office!

  2. Nick Kembel says:

    Reminds of Betel nut in Taiwan, like Indian Paan, but here they chew on the whole nut.
    Maybe you were not supposed to swallow the juices?
    Thanks for sharing, sounds nasty!

    • nzcampbell says:

      Probably the closest comparison I can think of is to Scandanavian snuss – which interestingly enough I had a very similar experience with as with the naswar. I was set up by two gorgeous giggling Swedish girls. They told me afterwards not to swallow the saliva so when it came to the naswar I knew not to get any saliva on it. I guess sometimes I need to learn the same lesson twice. There were no attractive girls laughing at me this time though.

      • QWERTY says:

        Yes you’re pretty right about the comparison. The Scandinavian Snuss is like “Naswar” but I personally believe that ‘Snuss’ is more cleaner and lighter in taste/effects than ‘Naswar’.

  3. Chris says:

    Hmmm, powerful stuff. Is it meant to do that?

    • nzcampbell says:

      Make you vomit and nearly shit your pants? No, I don’t think so. I think it’s just supposed to give you a nicotine hit. Either I wasn’t used to it or I did way too much.

  4. […] Finally questions my blog probably answered. Yes and no! Never swallow, in fact don’t even put it in your mouth in the first place. Naswar related search terms are the most common to refer to my blog and stem from this experience I had. […]

  5. M.A.Tipu says:

    Your Lieing Naswar Experince is life lasting, it never gets over

  6. Russianhockeynut says:

    I have some Russian buddies who play hockey bring this stuff over and first thing they told me make sure u don’t swallow any!!!!!!!!! I didn’t and it was an intense but not sickening experiance!!

  7. Khan says:

    i use it many times a day. if you have got any question about it i am ready to answer and help.i am also searching wether it have any long term effect on health or not. if you know anything about it i will be glad to know.

  8. asriz says:

    hahaha.. lolz you are right i have experienced the same at first time i had one . i have been chain smoker for years i wanted to quit smoking but i can’t find any way out one of my friend told me to start guttka instead but i said no because its very bad for my reputation in office it turn the teeth red which is embarrassing so i start naswar i have it only when i went to toilet or outside where no one see me.. now im done with smoking but naswar has other side effect like its addiction is more then smoking and also feel thirst after having. i have sinus issue and it feels like hell sometime .. at last i have to say never touch this shit its more more and more addicted then smoking its headache

  9. Qadeer says:

    how can i get this πŸ˜› can u tell me πŸ˜› if u know then please tell me πŸ˜›

  10. feroz haider says:

    hahahha lollx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s