PAN BIDI SHOPS
Pan-bidi shops have become a common sight even in remote parts of the district. Wherever possible, pan-bidi sellers set up; permanent shops generally by the side of the hotels, cinema-houses, if any, railway and bus stations, bazar and at all important corners of streets. Sometimes they move in the streets, particularly on bazar-day with a tray which is a miniature mobile shop containing the necessary items of pati-palli and 1 bundles of bidis. They also sell cigarettes and match-boxes. |
There are two types of pan-bidi shops; shops in the first category, sell only prepared pan-pattis, bidis, cigarettes, match-boxes, some other goods of daily use like soap, agarbatti, tooth-
paste, powder and few patent medicines like Aspro, Anacin, etc.
The other type of shops sell loose betel-leaves, betel-nuts, tobacco
and other things of daily use as aforesaid.
The habit of chewing pan-patti is more or less the same in this district as in other parts of Maharashtra. Very often the guests are entertained by offering pan. Usually people chew pan after taking meals or drinks like tea, coffee, etc. Besides, the
betel-leaves and areca-nuts have auspicious value and are used
at the time of marriages and other religious functions. Ninnerous articles are mixed together while preparing a pan-path such
as pan (betel-leave), pieces of areca-nut, lime, tobacco-leaf or
powder, catechu, clove and cardamom. These pan-pattis taste
astringent and not sweet. The pan-pattis have received such
name as the Calcutta mitha. Poona masala, Banarasi mitha,
Mohva, indicating the tastes of the people according to the
Accessories consist of betel-leaves, tobacco-leaves and powder, betel-nuts, lime, catechu, cloves, cardamom, copra, hariyali and other items of 'spices' (masala). The extent of consumption of these articles increases naturally with the growth in the size of an establishment which depends on the turnover. Generally all these shops are run on the small-scale and are managed by the owners themselves. Extra labour is very rarely employed. Sometimes hotel owners keep such shops in the extension of their premises and run them through their relatives. Such shops stand better in competition as their establishment charges are practically negligible.
The equipment of these shops consists of a small shelf to keep different items, a few pots to keep catechu, chuna (lime), etc., a big plate to keep betel-leaves and a bucketful of water for sprinkling it on betel-leaves to keep them fresh, a scissors and a nut-cracker. All these items cost about a hundred rupees. A few shops have radio sets.
These shops generally sell two types of pun-pattis: (I) ordinary (sadha) with or without tobacco, and (2) special with or without tobacco. The daily turnover of an average bidi-shop depends on such factors as the situation of the shop, the quality of the preparation (pan-patti), etc. But generally it ranges from Rs. 5 to Rs. 10 per day. The monthly net earnings of these shops vary between Rs. 150 and Rs. 225. The business is brisk at the time of festivals, local fairs, marriages and on bazar days. The pan-patti shops offer prospects of a good employment. They require small initial capital investment, small space and a few tools and equipment to start with.