Jaipur Diary – The Chai Breaks
The tea in the earthen cup.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
One of the many good things about the 6th Jaipur Literature Festival was the free chai served daily in the two chai breaks – at morning and at evening. Stationed at four places in Diggi Palace, the festival venue, the turbaned chaiwallas would pour the chai from a giant brass pot into little kulhars, the earthen cups. The pot would be placed on a coal-fired burner.
Within minutes of them appearing, a crowd would settle around these chaiwallas, who would patiently ladle out chai – one kulhar at a time – with a bemused expression on their faces. The chai’s flavour, infused with the earthy smell of the cup, refreshed the senses that were exhausted in the high-brow crap of the author sessions.
There was a time when Delhi’s street-side tea stalls served chai in kulhars. Now they have plastic cups. To have another kulhar walli chai, The Delhi Walla would perhaps have to wait for the 2012 edition of Jaipur Literature Festival.
Bubbling hot and frothy
Getting into action
One kulhar for me
Where’s the chai gone?
Chai and Chekhov