City Food – Shamir Hasan’s Chai Stall, Gali Sayyed Street, Old Delhi
The gentleman’s establishment.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
No contrary argument can be made about it. Tea stall owner Shamir Hasan stands out as a man of style.
With his freshly ironed shirt carefully tucked into immaculate pants, he says the outfit is his passion.
Such a sartorial taste is definitely not shared by most men here in Old Delhi’s Bulbuli Khana neighbourhood who content themselves either with tight denim jeans and T-shirts or the more traditional white kurta pajama, or even in the casual lungi and banian.
Then there’s something else. Mr Hasan always wears a leather belt to emphasize a slender waistline. Again, this is a strange sight in a district where most citizens tend to put on weight because of delicious kebabs and meat curries—halwa and poori ordered from neighbourhood eateries is a morning staple. Mr Hasan, on the other hand, contents himself “with two toasts with my morning tea, and nothing more until dinnertime at night.”
His instinct for style and fitness may come from the fact that he was once a famous cricketer, according to a customer. Mr Hasan himself modestly explains that he was known as an all-rounder, often playing at Ram Lila and India Gate Maidan.
“I stopped playing back in 2010 to focus more on this tea stall…children were growing up.”
Meanwhile a modest crowd of regular customers have gathered around his stall, mainly dressed in crumpled kurtas of the morning. Mr Hasan without question stands out as a man of gentle elegance who serves them fragrant milky chai. You ought to stop by his unnamed stall for a more complete Old delhi experience. Open daily from 6 am to 9 pm.