Chai stalls can be found in almost every nook on the streets of cities as well as villages. Drinking chai at these places is more than mere consumption of the beverage, its a center-point of social interaction and relaxation. You can indulge, in discussions, arguments, views on various topics and humour, with friends and also complete strangers. Each chai vendor enjoys a certain client loyality. Usually people frequent chai stalls either near their residence or work place-be it next to a bus stop or neighbouring shopping complex. Regular clients cherish an almost emotional attachment, not only with the tea but also the vendor.
You can have chai at home or at a cafe, but it’s not the same as having the chai on a street corner. Every vendor is well acquainted with the tastes of each regular client. As soon as a regular is spotted approaching, the kerosene burner hisses full flame, the required ingredients are added in the pot and within minutes of standing to, the tea is served frothing hot. A bit hungry? They also serve various light snacks: tempura-like fried dumplings, cookies, cream-rolls and other mouth-watering delights. Making good chai is an art-form in a class quite of its own! The hissing burner, smell of fresh boiling tea, the gathering of neighbours and strangers, the experience is relaxing. A welcome break to the normal chores of daily life.