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The “Chai” Magic


“See, thats all. Its so easy to make tea”, Atha [My father] switched off the stove , served tea to both of us . We walked together to the cold veranda. It was his news paper time. The 10 year old me while dutifully memorizing the steps of how tea should be made for him next day, sat down with him sipping hot tea along with the days hot news. My first Sulaimani!! I was excited for being his official tea maker and getting to be in kitchen on my own. Little did I know then, that this drink is going to be an integral part of my life.

I was so proud the next day after our tea time, when Atha told Amma and anyone who visited us , “Ende molu endu nalla chaaya aanu ondaikkiyenno” [My daughter made such a wonderful tea]. Little did I know making tea would be one of the the most loved things that I would be doing the rest of my life.

After news paper, Atha used to go for his usual morning walk and bring back umpteen stories along with snacks, all sourced from the chaayakkada next street. Little did I know about this humble “Chai and Chayakkada”, that got together people from all around the place to that one little shop where anything around the world from politics to gossips to movies to small society secrets were discussed.

And finally after many years when we got a car, ..It was raining. Atha showed us a small shop, hardly 2 benches, with around 30 people – Some sitting, some standing and some others leaning on the tree nearby – all with a small glass of tea. I was happy to finally meet the chaiwala, his meter cup , tea flying from 1 cup to another and the art of tea making. My first memories of the famous chaayakkada!! Little did I know that , the ambience he created , hot tea with rain will be fondly remembered for a life time.

During the days in Chennai when beaches were our fav destination to share happiness, sorrow or simply pass time with friends, tea was a must have. Beach, hot tea and pakodas is still a killer combo.

During the first years of marriage, when hubby took me around Chennai introducing various eatouts, one of them was ginger chaiwala. Again small shop, this time no benches, with min of 50 people around – all with a glass of tea , sharing snacks and news of their likes. My first masala chai!!

I thought Chai was important only in India, until few years back when we shifted to Dubai to find out that “Kaawa” – the authentic Arab drink is said to be the origin of Indian Sulaimani

Any malayalam movie lover can easily recollect the famous scene from “Ustad Hotel” ,when the veteran actor Thilakan adds a bit of Cinnamon to make his special Sulaimani to my favorite D.Q. I realized again the Mohabbat [love] that “Chai” passes to generations.

With our friends and family, we do not mind travelling miles through the hot dessert to have tea at our favorite destination. The same ambience that my old chaiwala created!! Some on foldable chairs while others leaning on their cars, all with a glass of tea and sharing love and laughter. https://www.instagram.com/p/CM-Cg8xpSA_/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Its been 30 years since my first tea, but I still become the same old proud child when someone says “What a nice tea”, after sipping the tea I make.

From ginger, cardamom, cinnamon or clove, tea gels well with any spice, and there is always a Chai to suit any type of person.

Chai is omni present. Different culture, different places, different reasons, different conversations, different generations – Tea has the magic to connect people, bring them together , spread the Mohabbat and will continue to be so. I can see the likelihood of my story continuing, when my 11 year old is curious to know how to make tea and what we discuss during tea.

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Little Shoulders Vs Big Calculations


Am jealous over my little one. I just have one set of parents. She has three. One set of parents and two sets of grand parents.

Grand children brings loads of happiness into the family, and so did Pari.. She being the first grand child, my parents and their love overflew into our lives and hers’. We love to watch them together, esp. the way they are concerned about their grand child. They want her to excel in everything in life, be the best of the lot, strong successful and an all time winner. Fingers crossed!! They have calculated lot of things and planned a lot over her, as much as they did for their children.

Sometimes over-concerns brings out ideas, which when exchanged make us smile for a while. Here are a few of them..

My parents seem to have already decided what she is going to be. She was just 4 months when my father said, “Z, am planning to send her for dance classes. Tell me as soon as she is ready for it”.

Music regales Pari. I take advantage of her mood and feed her playing “Sheela ki jawani” or “Chotti chotti aasai” 🙂 However,once when she cried after the music was stopped, one of the GP’s commented, ”Pari darling, you have to take care of your voice. You have to participate in Idea star singer season 25”. As reality shows are reigning all the major tv channels, this would the least expectation over the children of today 🙂

Of late she has started experimenting over our music system. How many would believe a one year old playing her favorite dvd? I admit it is not intentional. But she still does it and is unbelievably progressing. That Sayf say sometimes that she will be a successful engineer. It would have been ok if some others would not have been specific about the stream. They are sure about her becoming a mechanical engineer.

Pari seems to have taken interest over everything in kitchen. This lovely creature crawls into the kitchen and hmmmmm… my kitchen would be irreparably damaged. Amma is sure that she would be better than me in kitchen and would be a good cook to make us proud. I only hope that she would pay some help to me in the household in future.

She grabs a piece of chocolate or smiles over a candy wrapper, her grand mom1 would be concerned about her weight. ”Pari, chocolates would make you fat and it is difficult for fat girls to marry. Z, you make sure she stays like you”. Grand mom2 is worried too.” Chocolate lovers are likely to have an increased cholesterol level. You make sure she doesn’t eat too much Z”. After all these, Pari would mile at them again, they would give her their share of chocolates also and look at me as though this should be the last chocolate piece that she should have…

She steps onto her toy car and she would be a good driver.

She enjoys a fountain, and she would be a good observer.

She gives up something, avoids a fight, and she would be a good GIRL unlike her mother. Phew!!

Pari is too lean. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone expects her to be the next gen size zero.. 🙂 🙂 🙂