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Shisha is a kind of embroidery done on the surface of textile for sewing small mirrors to get a pretty design. In fact, the term ‘shisha’ means mirrors. This style of embroidery, often referred to as mirror work, is quite prevalent in India and its neighboring countries. Initially, bits of mica were employed to get a reflective surface, but those were subsequently replaced by tiny mirrors. Nowadays, sequins and plastic mirrors are also used at times, but glass mirrors continue to be used and they are believed to be more desirable and traditional.

Blown Glass

Traditionally, ‘shisha’ was made from blown glass, the back of which was painted to get it more reflective. Then, it was carefully cut or broken. This technique is still used and the final product is called ‘antique shisha.’ Such pieces of ‘shisha’ are valued because of the slight flaws that creep in while making glass manually, and the difference in their shape and size, as a result of hand cutting. ‘Perfect shisha’ or ’embroidery glass’, as it is often called, being made on machines, is thicker and has no imperfections of size or shape.

‘Shisha’ needs to be firmly attached to the cloth so that the latter can carry the weight of the mirror or ‘shisha.’ This technique works especially well on textile having bold prints in bright colors, where mirrors along with pretty stitches give a different dimension to the overall design. Mirror embroidery is often done to add to the beauty of bags of varying sizes, hangings, clothing and household furnishings. Mirrors form an integral part of the overall design. They could form a part of the motifs arranged in geometrical designs or be positioned inside a flower.

Simple straight stitches in many directions are applied along the periphery of the mirror to secure it with the fabric. The edges of the mirror are somewhat rough, so that they can hold the thread plus the fabric, thus keeping the mirror in its desired position. Traditionally, the fastening of mirror to the fabric is done through stitches only, without the use of any adhesive or glue. Those  shisha tabak decorative stitches along the periphery of the mirror not only hold the mirror in place, but also go to form a design component.

People not keen or unable to follow the traditional method can get almost similar looks by using plastic rings available with stitching already done around them. Such rings are designed to give the look of an ornamental border around the mirror. You can also get lengths of material that have mirrors already sewn in.

Health Effects of Using a Shisha Water Pipe

Does it have the same effects of smoking shisha than smoking an ordinary cigarette? Most Arab countries have their own version of a tobacco water pipe. It is most commonly called as a Shisha or a Hookah. It has been part of the tradition, oldest and popular in Middle East countries and is also seen in India, Turkey and Egypt. It is a tall pipe with glass bottom where some cooled water is filled in. At the top most, it is where the tobacco is placed covered by a thin foil. On top of the foil is the heated coal. The Shisha or Sheesha usually operates by filtering the water and heating up the tobacco indirectly. It has gained popularity in most Arab countries. Some used it to smoke marijuana, herbal fruits or tobacco. It is usually smoke in various flavors namely, strawberry, apple, peach, pistachio, mint, coconut, mango and a lot more.

There’s a saying that Shisha are less dangerous than smoking cigarette or pipe smoking. How true is that? Maybe it is because it is indirectly done when smoking? According to the WHO, analysis have reached to the point that it is far more dangerous than smoking cigarettes or pipe smoking. One is getting more smoke from the hookah than smoking a stick of a cigarette thus exposing to smoke in a longer period of time. Inhaling that smoke from the hookah is like inhaling toxic gases and compounds and also some heavy metals thus leading to pulmonary and cardiac problems. It means water in the pipe doesn’t filter the smoke but does absorb nicotine.

There’s a fact that leads to saying, Shisha is just equal to and the same with smoking cigarettes. But it is just that like smoking 100 to 200 times cigarettes in a 60-minute Hookah session. Thus saying that it is more dangerous than smoking a cigarette. Another thing is that it is unhygienic and unhealthy when there are more than 2 sharing the pipe. One could acquire respiratory or pulmonary problems by passing the pipe to another and another. Going to cafes that has Sheesha for everyone is unhealthy. Inhaling the smoke from those who are doing a session is still considered as a passive smoker. And come to think of it, passive smokers acquires fatal health complications than active smokers.

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