A good cuppa chai

chai When I think of the small and simple pleasures of visiting India, drinking a piping hot, milky tea with excess sugar definitely stands among them. From street corners to train stations – it is the tasty cup of chai that hits the spot every time. Yet on a recent visit to one of Delhi airport’s domestic terminals I was disgruntled to discover there was none on offer. I could buy a 200 rupees (approx £2) café latte, but if I wanted to indulge in a simple cup of a chai…I’d have to go somewhere else.

The chai wasn’t the only glaring omission in the airport terminal. You can shop to your heart’s content at Early Learning Centre, WHSmith or Marks and Spencer, but if you want to pick up a salwar, sari or the like – you will be disappointed.

This contrasts quite heavily with the international terminal at Delhi, that packages up India in all its exportable splendour with beautifully packaged incense sticks, ayurvedic oils, ethnic fabrics, ornamental statues and other paraphernalia. You can even consult an ayurvedic doctor and catch some live Indian classical music while you wait for your flight.

Whilst I do appreciate the quality of staple UK brands and a well-crafted foamy latte…I also consider it rather a shame that the quintessentially Indian joy of drinking chai has disappeared from a hub airport in the country’s capital.

1 Comment

  1. I COMPLETELY agree!
    There is nothing better than a 5-10 rupee chai from a train station or street corner, served in a small glass-glass which is all sticky on the outside because of the high sugar-chai ratio, and because it has been poured from a great height (resulting in a pleasing foam on top).
    Sadly, I have found the same in many of the domestic airports – I did find a Tetley chai in Chennai’s domestic airport which was about 60 (extortionate) rupees, served in a paper cup – a spiced teabag is added to a lukewarm milky foam which is generated by an instant machine. You are then given the smallest straw in the world to serve as a stirrer and its near impossible to try and get the desired volume of sugar to dissolve in… **so sad not to have a chaiwallah in sight**.
    I love chai. That is all.


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