Taamul & Paan
SERVING ”tamul” TO THE GUESTS IN ASSAM
Long before in Assam, there was a story of two friends .The story was like this -----
One of them was rich and the other one was very poor .The poor friend used to go for meal to the rich friend’s house. Like this many days passed .One day a thought came to his mind that and said to himself “I used to go to my friend’s house for meal everyday like a shameless fellow .So I should call my friend for a meal in my house” That day in spite of going for meal to his friend’s house he invited his friend for a meal in his home. Then his friend accepted his invitation .After inviting his friend he came to his home and told his wife that his friend will be coming for a meal and asked his wife to prepare a meal. Then his wife replied that there is nothing to serve a meal for his friend. Then her husband told her to borrow some food from their neighbors. Unfortunately, their neighbors refused to give some food to her. After coming home the poor wife felt very much ashamed of not being capable of arranging a single meal for his husband’s friend and of unable to fulfill her husband’s order she committed suicide. When husband saw the dead-body of his wife he understand her sorrow and felt himself ashamed that he is unable to fulfill the needs of his family and there is no hope to live in this world anymore and he also committed suicide.
After sometime when his friend arrived to his friend’s home he saw the dead-bodies of his friend and his wife lying down. Then the rich friend thought that his friend has left him alone and so there is no importance of his life in this world and then he also committed suicide.
After sometime a thief came there and found nothing to steal but found three dead-bodies. As he was also frustrated of stealing things in his life and then he also committed suicide.
Suddenly, God arrived there and turned the soul of the wife into ‘chun’ (lime stone), poor man’s soul into ‘paan’, rich man’s soul into ‘tamul’ (beetle –nut) and the thief’s soul into ‘sada’ (tobacco). After turning their souls into respective forms, God advised the Assamese people to follow a tradition of serving “tamul-paan” to the guests.
There is logic behind tamul-paan, as the poor man and his wife lived together so their souls were converted into paan and chun. For this reason, paan and chun are taken together. Whereas the rich man was converted into tamul so tamul is taken without paan and chun also. But people take tamul along with paan and chun for the taste. Now left the tobacco, the thief was converted into tobacco so it is not being compulsory to take tobacco with tamul paan. Tobacco is generally taken after tamul-paan.
This tradition n of serving “tamul –paan” to the guests was first started in Guwahati (Gateway to Assam) where in Assamese “guwa” means “tamul –paan” so this place is named as Guwahati and slowly and gradually it spread all over Assam .
There is a great significance of “tamul- paan” in Assamese tradition that every occasion is incomplete without it.