Tea means Indian Masala Chai

tea at a dhaba in Kumaon mountains
Tea at a dhaba in Kumaon mountains

There is a flood of memories of countless moments of sipping chai — the golden beverage which has the power of starting conversations, sharing joy and bringing together friends as well as strangers. We could extend this to uniting the diverse land that is India. The passion with which people cutting across all strata embrace this drink is unparalleled. Let us celebrate international tea day with some nice hot masala chai.

Drink Tea anywhere

Chai at a dhaba in Jaipur
Chai at a dhaba in Jaipur

Personally I have always enjoyed drinking tea. There must have been countless shops, dhabas, thelas, cinema halls, college canteens, railway stations, restaurants, clubs, hotels, journeys and of course homes of friends and relatives where I would have enjoyed the sacred act of drinking tea. Some of these moments have been memorable — moments of laughter, intense debates as well as meaningless bakwaas or just plain simple catching up. It is next to impossible to say No to an invitation for chai.

Indian Masala Chai

While tea drinking is a wonderful way to celebrate friendship and enjoy the company of those whom you like, sipping your favourite chai alone is an experience which is nothing less than a session of mediation. If you have made the tea yourself, then you have gone through the entire experience and enjoy drinking tea even more. I somehow have never preferred adding ready mix masala while making chai. I have always preferred adding cardamom or cinnamon while the chai is brewing.

Masala chai being prepared
Masala chai being prepared at a dhaba

Something to munch with chai

While drinking tea is a wonderful experience by itself, chai goes well with certain snacks. I have been very selective with what I have with chai. It has to be a samosa or homemade chivda or cream cracker biscuits. I cannot think of anything else with chai. Here I am talking about the afternoon or evening tea. It has been several years since I have stopped drinking tea in the mornings. It would be coffee in the mornings and may be till after lunch. Cookies go well with coffee but not at all with tea.

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Milind Sathe

Founder of indiaart.com, Art India Foundation, Khula Aasmaan (खुला आसमान). Interested in art, education, science, children, travel, photography, history.