Today’s Chai Diaries entry comes from Shandeep Sharma, a product developer and account manager at a Silicon Valley tech start-up. Life would seem pretty good for Shandeep. But there’s one thing missing from the Silicon Valley — chai wallahs. He sent in this memory of a favorite chai wallah from his childhood.
During winter holidays my family and I would visit our relatives in Gwalior. We would take trips to the city center (“Sudder” street) and have Kashmiri chai. This chai never tasted as good in Singapore where we lived, and I would rarely have it there since it was too hot for the temperate climate. Plus my parents didn’t want me developing a caffeine addiction.
The great thing about the chai wallah we went to was that he was my dad’s primary school friend and would give us “special” treatment. I’d get my chai in a white paper cup with extra pistachios because he knew I enjoyed the added texture. I would sip it very very slowly — savoring it as much as possible. As we drank our chais by the roadside, I would hear stories of my dad when he was my age while he reminisced with his chai wallah buddy.