With a lot of hope, I approached the famed tea seller who had been well-known by the ones working in and around the the busy Dal Housie area. Will he want to speak with me about his profession? I wasn’t too sure, the crowd around him further added on to my doubts. I had heard about Shiv from my brother-in-law who worked at a bank nearby. Everyday 100s of tea lovers would visit Shiv’s station for their daily dose of rejuvenating tea.
Stocked with packets of milk, tea, sugar and biscuits, Shiv made a decent sale everyday to enjoy a comfortable life. He didn’t want to speak much about his life, not probing further, I chose to make my own little observations and chronicle the experience.
The milk boiled in the aluminium container on a low flame. Shiv went on to add a large spoonful full of tea to the boiling milk. The shades of white soon took an orange glow and the aroma filled up the air further enticing the weary office-goers.
A couple of minutes later, the tea was ready to be served. Filling kulhad to the brim with tea, Shiv handed his clients with their respective portions. Some opted for large kulhads, some for small glasses while the other would come to simply accompany their colleagues.
A sip of the brilliant concoction could refresh the weariest of souls!
The tea addicts on an average made two visits in a day to enjoy the kulhad wali chai. At other times, the office staff would come to Shiv’s station to fill flasks with chai for all the employees.
Shiv prepared tea of many flavours, with ginger, elaichi and also black tea with a drop of lemon juice. Recounting an incident, narrated to me by my brother-in-law, the tea is sorely missed by employees who had to shift to a foreign country. On a call with my brother-in-law, one of his friend rued – ‘Shiv ki chai yaha nai milti!’ We don’t get here the tea that Shiv served back in Kolkata!
Enjoying a small kulhad filled with tea, I felt blessed and lucky! 🙂
Pic Courtesy: Al Jazeera dot com