Chai ? The word with a question mark. My father asked the family on a wedding shopping to our shop.
People call those days as the season of lagan ( when marriages are in high rate) in Bihar. I started going with my father to our crockery shop, to assist him in busy business days like Dhanteras (Days before Diwali), Chand-raat (Night prior to Eid), and of course in lagan days. I was then 7 years old and was actively involved in the business of crockery, Bone China, steelwares and plastic houshold items. I continued mostly with my shop named “Darbhanga Glass House” till i passed 10th class from Darbhanga. A small town in Bihar.
So the tea offered was never rejected by parties in huge shopping for dowry related items. I used to shout “Bholaaa”. Bhola sitting other side of the road quickly understood what to send and how much. The recent bollywood hits and famous “chiththi ayee hai ayee hai” by Pankaj Udaas was his favorite. Dealing customers, negotating and settling down. Shopping was totally a different way those days. Particularly in small towns. Sips of the tea, discussion and the packaging the complete items as well. The business end up knowing the customer’s village, kins and sometimes we discover the long long relationships as well. And of course the invitation card.
I never liked the tea, and wonder at that time, why people love this hot cup. I instead prefer to have ghup-chup (we call paani puri in Delhi and paani batashe in Lucknow), Falooda Kulfi and Limca those days. After a good business my father used to give my Rs 10 note. That was enough to have fun at Tower Chowk Darbhanga.
Slowly i started liking the hot cup. Sometimes occasionally i accompany customers, just to let them feel not bad. Though i was not addicted to it. There was nothing like i have not got a good cup today and am having a headache.
My uncle came to Darbhanga from Delhi in 1998. I just passed 10th that year with 70%. That was good in Bihar Board. He had discussion with me. I was fond of Physics and Maths. He forced my father to carry me to Delhi and my life changed thereon. I came Delhi and … however sometimes i think my crockery business could have made me more rich than stuck in IT companies … Well that is destiny and we cant escape.
Delhi was new to me but not the tea, and i discovered varying taste. Travelling in sleeper coach and moving along via different cities, Indian railways made me to discover a lot about tea.
In school life when cracking H C Verma numericals of Physics, i became tea addicted, slowly slowly this became a habit to have tea. After some time my headache intensity became an inversly proportional function to the tea.
These days i prefer making my own cup of tea. I see roadside dhabaas reminding me the days of Bholaa tea stall in Darbhanga. They boil the mix of water milk and tea to a cruel brutality and serve them. My way is different and is based on the philosphy ” Chai banai jati hai, pakayee nahi… (A Tea is To Make, not to Boil like vegetables)”.
Usually i prefer boiling water to its extreme and putting Tea leaves afterwards. Putting down the lids so that fragrance dont escape. Keeping the mix idle for 3 minutes. Meanwhile having cup ready with Hot milk mixed with sugar. Generally i prefer 1/4th milk and 3/4 tea water liquor. Ahhhh!!! Thats make a perfect aroma and a tea which make a day great.
I am not in the business of Taj Tea, but have excellent experience with Wah Taj.