Chai Wallah (Tea Man) -Sheryl Antony

  • Kimberly Salako

As Bangalore is getting trapped by the metropolis, dominos is taking over our local chai wallah’s place. Tea stalls are quite popular in Bangalore today and with rapid globalization and the boom of the IT world, tea drinking options available to most employees are; either their dirty vending machines at work which is an excuse for a decent cup of tea, or the roadside tea vendors who actually know how to make a good cup of tea.


Most youth and employees find tea vendors very convenient since they are there in the corner of every street. They are defiantly more reasonable and the make their tea with lots of love. Each morning be it winter or summer we wait to have our first tea from our usual vendors. As the tea boiled on her kerosene stove, morning and evening people gather around her to drink their tea and sit on the concert steps next to her cart under the metro tracks, to discuss the day’s headlines. Apart from her stove and the chai vessel, the cart had glass containers with different kinds of biscuits, cakes, rusks and other savouries the classic snacks to go with chai. Yet the chai was perfect on its own with just the right amount of ginger, sugar, milk. What’s special about them is apart from the great tea they make is a fact that they take a lot of time to make it. No rush.


Unfortunately, this tea wallah is forced to vacate. The family of four who were looking after a construction site due to insufficient funds decided to start a tea stall in Indiranagar are forced to leave their home at a very short notice cause branch of dominos is taking over the building and it would look shabby for them to sell their tea and biscuits outside a reputed pizza place. Today because of his tea stall business he has been able to give his daughter Shusmita good education in an English medium school and look after his wife and second daughter.


“I don’t know where to take my family, we are asked to leave in a week and my daughter’s school is right around the Conner, we are trying to find another place but the rent they are asking is too high. We have to pay rent for having a stall on the streets today. If we can’t find a place I am going to take my family back to the village and try to continue the same business there,” says Manoj the chai wallah.


India is a country where serving the guests holds a great importance in our culture and it is considered that our guests are like gods and hence should be treated with great respect and love. We are famous as hosts they make every small effort to serve their guests. We show our love through food and snacks served with some hot cup of tea. Though tea culture is not originally from India but actually came to India through the British but now has become an integral part of our everyday life. Early morning and evenings are hard to imagine without a hot cup of tea. In a city like ours where the rains are a great excuse to celebrate is best enjoyed with a cup of tea and pakodas with some green chutney. So, even if tea is not originated in India, it has still managed to find its place here.




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