Writing Prompts: Shisha

I have never smoked a cigarette or cigar. I have never partaken in marijuana or cannabis. The only occasion where I have ever smoked, so to speak, was on a hot summer’s night with some colleagues from my sofa sales job, after we had gone out for an Indian meal in the Ilford area of London.

I was of the impression that this was a tobacco-free variety of the experience of shisha. To be fair, I don’t believe my colleagues – most of whom didn’t smoke themselves – would have duped me, and it didn’t smell like a typical tobacco-based product.

Shisha is smoked via a hookah. You sort of… suck it in? I can’t easily explain it, it was all a bit surreal.

A typical hookah.

The substances you smoke (all legal by the way!) can have ‘flavours’, but the thing I most took away from it all is that I wound up feeling quite light-headed. I am not used to smoking of any kind, and given it was a very hot evening too, I found it literally dizzying.

I can appreciate the communal element of it. Hookahs are often designed to be shared among several people at once, who will all sit around the hookah, in close proximity to one another. For some, the process of smoking shisha will be relaxing, and this will enable flowing conversation. It is not for this meerkat. I am not wired to handle it, at least, not without getting disorientated!

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