Working as an ice breaker, betel is a part of Indian hospitality without which social ceremonies are not complete. Even if Pana is sold throughout the country, the make and taste differs from region to region. From thickness and size of the betel leaves to application of chuna also varies. In Odisha, Pana hold a special place as it is offered to its most revered lord Jagannatha. Ramakanta Senapati’s "Banarasi Pana Bhandar" offers multi aromatic betel prepared with a passion to relish your taste buds. It has an iconic presence in Pana delivering business. Even if there are thousands of Pana wallas doing business in Bhubaneswar, a true entrepreneur, Ramakanta Senapati has a tale to tell.
”Once I came to the city, the idea of starting a Pana shop here struck me. I did research to know how to bring innovation in my business.” Looking at the opportunity in doing the business in an organized way, Ramakanta invested Rs 1 Lakh in his business. His Father, a farmer, gave him the amount with a condition that he would never bring bad name to him. He opened the shop when the place was not so prominent. In his initial period, Ramakanata had to struggle a lot for survival.” Bhanja babu of Upendra Medical Store, allowed me to stay at his home. Started in 2008, he has now completed 6 years of successful operation.
"I serve people through the shop, along with making them available on occasions like Marriages, Birthday Parties, and Reception. Our services for preparing Pana have been the part of many weddings and parties to add a traditional value to them." The unique wrapping and packaging the Pana in special containers attracts people. Last year we used aluminium foils, this year we did it with a jhudi." Ramakanta has more than 20 varieties of tobacco product for making Pana. At the time of Raja, we use more than 150 kinds of sweeteners. “The ingredients are fresh Pana (Betel Leaf), Choona (lime paste), Gua (betel nuts), Tobacco, Sugar, Candies, etc. which are sampled in the Pana in such a way that they create a magical taste. I have named all the varieties and have a proper price list which is uniqueness in itself.” He has a photo album for choosing the packaging type at the time of delivery