Delhi's most loved chai on International Tea Day.
Chai, is an emotion. It’s like friendship. A bond of tea, milk, water, elaichi, adrak, masala. It’s a love affair. Currently, I’m sitting in the most beautiful chai tapri ever next to Delhi’s most beloved Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah. This tea shop got in my way on my path to explore sufism.
Run by Salim bhai and his welcoming smile, this shop is 70 years old and had been moved on from generations to generations. Everyone knows Salim bhai in this area, of course as he has spent almost every moment of his life here. In the morning, his eyes open up to the world of hundreds of disciples, followers. His grandfather used to run the shop, then his waalid (father) and now him. The shop opens up with the packets of Pan Masala on the left, and in front, some classic potato chips, fan, matti and biscuits kept in a kaanch ka kanastar.
On his counter lies a bartan (patili) and next to it is a patila, water mixed with milk. He’s prepared to start his day. The conversation between me and him started, when I wished him, ‘Happy अंतर्राष्ट्रीय चाय दिवस’ (International Tea Day) and he replied, ‘Arre waah, kya din hai!’ The shop has many visitors who are avid chai-lovers which covers up most of the benches kept there. The conversations about everything on this world happens here. Everything in the world of Hazrat Nizamuddin. The universe is great. Everything is so serene, peaceful and calm.
After a long morning, what was needed the most is tea and look I’m here. I’m sitting in the most beautiful chai tapri ever and having the most loved chai of Delhi. See chai is so lucky, it is celebrated on two days, 15 December and 21 May. But for me, everyday is chai day. Happy International Chai Day.
I thank Salim bhai for sharing his story. Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/manankathuria/
Thank you for being a part of my journey :')