Images taken in the City of Joy, Calcutta.
Chai lattes have recently gained prominence in every menu across your local cafes and is far from an unknown entity. I am sure you look forward to a pipping hot cup of chai every time you visit a cafe. However, a masala chai, (to sound more authentic) is a drink sold on every street corner that breaks all barriers of class. But for me, the word chai paints a different picture. One that of chaiwallahs methodologically pouring chai back and forth with precision between metal teapots. The scent of cardamom and saffron conjures images of aunties gathered around ready to spill the tea, uncles reading the newspaper twirling a cigarette in one hand and nursing a cup of tea with another. Debates, Poetry, discussions: a cup of chai has seen it all. It is these memories that string together the city’s history of revolutionary ideas, the freedom of a conversation and the love for a simple cup of tea and samosa.
Oh and guess what? The other beloved drink – turmeric latte was something I grew up drinking when I was unwell. The cure for everything in Indian households is turmeric and there is nothing revolutionary about that.