Coffee is nice, but tea? It has its own aroma and the charm of sitting in a quilt for long chats on cold winter nights. Oh! What a lovely and cosy kinda feel. But I am not talking about the familiar traditional chai that, we sit in homes and have.
This was tea of chai cafe. Something out of the box!! Here, the humble chai was giving a tough competition to CCD and other hip cafes.
The owner boasted of the lovely variety of chai. The cosy sitting had a homely feel yet the decor was contemporary. I went for the first time and fell in love with the place and of course the chai.
My style chai?. Less of sugar; No milk and a lovely aroma of tea leaves.
“You liked the tea, maám”?
I looked up from the book and saw a pair of deep brown eyes, just like my tea, gazing at me with a twinkle in eyes.
“Yes, of course. Thank you.”
I came back satisfied with the taste n decor and included this place into my favourites. I thought of visiting it again just to enjoy the ‘ME’ time.
The next visit was pretty soon. I decided to keep my early morning meeting over there. It was quite early in the morning and no other customer was there. I went inside and was pleasantly welcomed by the same deep brown eyes.
“Very Good Morning Dear.”
Dear?? Never mind.
I smiled and exchanged pleasantries. I opened my laptop and started working. Just a few minutes passed and I was served with masala chai.
I looked up with a puzzled look. “I didn’t order it.”
“Work should be accompanied with chai shai .”
He smiled and said” Don’t worry it’s on the house. ”
“Would you mind, if I join? I like my chai shai with a bit of talk”.
He said with crinkles around eyes, due to his broad smile. The on the house chai has to be compensated.
“May I know your name?” He asked
“Ï am Radhika.”
” I am Abeer. Abeer Roy. The Owner of this place.”
” Lovely place you have.” I complimented.
The door opened and my client came. The conversation was cut off. He took our order and asked the boy to serve.
The meeting went nice but I could not enjoy my style chai. So after a fortnight, I visited the place again.
Ï didn’t saw Abeer. I ordered my chai and sat with a book. It had been a hectic week now I just wanted to relax a bit.
” Hi Radhika. I didn’t see you.” The door flung open with a brimming voice. I somehow had a big smile on my face. Maybe he had an infectious smile.
He further continued. “Ï love your timing. You usually come in the early morning when there is no hustle-bustle. It makes evident that you enjoy my chai.”
“I enjoy my ME time!” , I wanted to say but somehow just managed to smile. I could not break his heart.
He again bought masala chai on the house and I enjoyed it over my small talks and his jovial laugh.
A week passed and I felt like going to the cafe to have chai with Abeer. I Started enjoying the careless talks with him and of course his twinkling eyes. There was something about him which was very warm, aromatic and relaxing just like his varied variety of chai which he lovingly served. Every time I went I was served a variety ‘on the house’ for approval.
His passion for chai was equivalent to the passion some poet has for his poetries, almost like loving something intensely.
“How you learned to make tea?” I asked him, on one of our on the house chai session.;)
He looked with a deep gaze and with a sip, he said, ” My wife loved my chai. After she passed away, I spent my time trying new variants. Then I opened this place to send my love to her up in heaven with all the aromas of these teas. And of course to have a company of someone beautiful like you to enjoy it too. ”
“She was my Partner of Chai Shai and bit of LOVE.”
He sighed and laughed a burst of hearty laughter, but all I could hear was the pain of losing his chai partner of 40 years!!
I smiled and waved goodbye, with a promise to drop in soon for a story of chai shai and a bit of love!!
And deep down I realized that missing someone is your heart’s way of reminding you that you love them…a lot!! Isn’t it?
PS: A very initial story of mine published earlier in a few online platforms including Momspresso & Women’s Web!