Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Chai...Chai and Chai

Even before the thought of waking up strikes my mind when in bed, I start visualizing a hot steamy cup of chai! Am I an addict? Not really but an ardent lover of chai and I bet most of us are. As a teenager I reminisce those days of having chai enjoying cool crisp mornings where flowers of Paarijaat covered a small part of our garden, bird chirping and such solitude. A few more years later, enjoying tea watching sunset and a few more year later chai with friends in college canteen and those non-stop and nonsensical gossips and chats, those were fun days! 

We Indians are hopelessly in love with chai, remember asking your guests if they would prefer chai or coffee? Probably considered as a part of mannerism rather good one if you ask your guests for one and if not then be ready to hear the rant followed by your inhumane behaviour. Something like, how mean he/she was, never asked us for chai! Clearly he/she doesn't know or hasn't been taught to welcome guests...phew. Such is the important of this beverage, which looks inviting in a delicate and decorated China clay chai, or wait it tastes refreshing in any ware. Don't believe me then visit any Punjabi and they would merrily serve you elaichi chai with less milk in a steel glass. A Punjabi friend of mine once shared with me that his Aunts in Punjab make a Thermos of Chai and keep sipping in small portions as and when they wanted to indulge in gup-shup.

It tastes even better in earthenware known as Kulhad, let me remind you about our former railway minister Shri Lalu Prasad ji, he had a vision and whatsoever people say or media reported about him I will always appreciate his decision on inculcating Kulhad culture on our national railways. I appreciate him for this eco friendly thought and undoubtedly giving a style statement to our normal chai served in paper glasses or plastic non-degradable glasses. The thought of having chai in Kulhad has been so inviting and appealing to me that I persuaded my mother buying kulhads at home and she till date uses them. Chai and railways share a perfect bond, do you remember those chai wallahs  on trains running with their portable chai tanks shouting chai chai and luring us to buy one? What a sight to see chai being poured from taps!

I can have gallons of Chai in Kulhad!

Living in any first world country, a common sight would be seeing neatly dressed people sipping their hot drink from tall paper mugs and these mugs have their brand name printed - Starbucks, Costa and so on. It doesn't matter if you are having an exotic or fair trade drink but it does matter if it is Starbucks or Costa or any other. It has become a style statement, is my impression. Travelling on a particular train, I know some faces - my fellow passengers who always hold these precious mugs. One question always pops up in my they know that they are harming the planet? Once when I was at Starbucks, I read something in a tiny font and I focused by bringing my upper eyelid closer to my lower, it read - if you get your travel mug 25 p off on your drink. It made me feel wow but at the same time the innocent myself questioned that why wasn't it printed in bold and large font? Clearly, sab kuch paise ke liye! 

Fact : The desire to sip and move around leads to more than 2.5 billion cups per year in rubbish in the UK and hang on if you say that they are recyclable then absolutely not, they end up in landfill as there is a thin plastic cover within the mug preventing it from being soggy. So now you got my point, this relaxing and refreshing hot drink is a sinful cuppa due to the threat it causes to environment!

Undoubtedly, I adore our Indian chai stalls - In Pune, tea stalls outside Kamla Nehru Park was one of my favourites. Behind the scenes how cleanly these reusable small glasses are being rinsed is one question but it does give me a satisfaction of sipping my chai from a re-usable cute little glass. During my college days, it was Jaykar's tea we would literally gulp down discussing lectures, social issues, movies and pretty much everything. Chai was panacea to boredom and it is still the same for many as we all bond so well on this little delight made in several ways. 

If you are enjoying this piece of my write-up with a hot cuppa then I am sure you will relate with every word...but are you enjoying it in an eco-friendly way?


  1. I didn't know this that if you get your travel mug, its 25 p off.
    But all said and done, you don't get our Chai anywhere in the world. I just dont buy anything from Starbucks or any similar outlet.
    The chai you get in Amrutulya outlets all over Maharashtra is something that one should not miss.
    Recently I found (and enjoyed) the chai at "chai point" just outside the Bangalore airport.

    1. Thank you for your comment :)

      In the UK at Starbucks 25p is off if you bring in your own travel mug. I can't agree more that our Chai is awesome! Amrutulya outlets have been on my list. Albeit born and brought up in Maharashtra, I never had Amrutulya's chai, will try to sip during my nest visit. 'Chai point' sounds posh, will keep this in mind too.

  2. I feel the write-up. Its making me nostalgic! It reminds me of my college days, i almost regularly used to have chai at tapri! It felt so awesome there! I miss pune too! Di, that restaurant near ncl, i forgot the name, that was the chai hub for all of ncl'ites! Aahh! I miss that terribly!

    1. Yeah Jyoti, a tea is special with friends and just brings out the best memories and moments. Siddharth hotel was one favourite spot for nclites....I miss NCL days sooo much.

  3. Exactly the same thing came in my mind. The chai in NCL new canteen with the law mates and late night chai in Siddharth

    1. The chai at NCl canteen was one patented stuff, never liked it but what mattered was having that chai with lab mates. Siddharth chai was awesome, I miss those days terribly, such great fun those days were!