Twas a nice relaxed Sunday today. Mom and I had gone out in the morning for the basics and came back really late. We came in by about 4 and I dropped almost immediately. Woke up by 5.30. Mom wasn’t hungry anyway and said she was planning to have an early dinner. Not me though. And I was hungry!! Went down again to the local laundry to collect my office clothes. That’s where there is a tea vendor, or the CHAI WALA as we refer to them.
A typical 1 feet by 3.5 feet wide, 4 feet tall table, with the basics, this one was slightly bigger than the usual. He had a nice roof and a slight stand where other things were kept. One of his customers finished tea and asked “Kuch khaane ko hai?” The tea vendor promptly pointed out to a few things he had—Samosas, fafda, chivda, bhajiya etc!! and that reminded me of how hungry I was, remember?
I too promptly ate a samosa, and stayed satisfied happily ever after- well, till dinner atleast. You see, the area where I live, there is not a SMALL restaurant in sight—like for a quick snack..The nearest one is candies where you cant have an affordable samosa. The next- a high end udipi restaurant- is abt 7 minits walk. The time and cost do not justify a quick evening munch. Hence, the chai wala rocks!!
How many times has the tea vendor come to your rescue in the rainy season, at odd times? You are drenched in the rain, the traffic is messed up, and you see a chai walaa on the street. Isnt that simply the best thing at that time?
As Jug Suraiya (if I correctly recollect) mentioned in one of his TOI columns, the walmarts and tescos of the world will never manage to replace or significantly affect the local kirana store. The chai wala too has been around for quite some time, and will continue to rule!! A very small concept, but equally effective and impacting!! Jai Ho!!