India’s favorite drink is undoubtedly the Tea or Chai. Whether it’s summers or winters, or any hour of the day, you’ll always find a tea stall open at some corner of the city. Though I don’t like my tea with milk, but these shops are never out of business, not even in big corporate estates like DLF Cyber Park in Gurgaon, one of the fanciest business centers in national capital region. People of all ranks prefer roadside tea stalls over coffee shops. Typical recipe of their tea includes lots of sugar, ginger, milk and tea leaves boiled over and over again. Then served in a small recycled plastic cup, which gives it a unique aroma of Assam tea garden burning with a plastic dump. You also get a variety of snacks to munch with your tea, like cake, matthi, patties, etc. all with flies as black pepper and dry fruit. But sitting at such shops and sipping tea is sure a different experience.
Once I was talking to a kid who works for the chaiwala, he used to make Rs. 700.00 a month working with the chaiwala and his perks included four pieces of matthi (a slated, fried wheat snack) and almost unlimited supply of chai each day. So much for exploitation of child labor.
The shop above is one of my favorite chai ki dukaan in Nayee Sadak, Chandni Chowk. Though I have never had their tea, but the way the shop look with it’s paint chipping off and stains on the walls, with white kettles and glasses stacked up all ready to be served makes it almost a living painting for me.