Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ek cutting chai

I just went out for a glass of cutting chai to a little chai shop near my office, and yeah at 1 pm in the searing afternoon heat. I just felt like having tea and went for it. It was a shop with a proper shelter and not a tapri, but the culture is almost the same.

These chai tapris/shops are a world of their own. You can see all types of people there sipping chai (very very few girls, of course. You would probably find more female dogs in the vicinity, than female humans). People who you would normally wont notice when you know where you are going. There are old retired men reading newspapers for hours in all languages he can read. And young marketing executives who drive splendor and going through their papers out of a shoulder bag. Then a few college kids who are saving pennies at the end of the month by having chai and wada pav for lunch (well, I too have gone through these days sometimes). A few people from the nearby software companies and banks. The college guys and the IT/bank guys are most likely to bring along some girl for a snack. Private banks I mean, not the sarkari banks, I must add.

Its interesting to listen to their conversations too. You can gain a good amount of gyaan listening in to the conversations. College guys talk about everything except their studies or topic of studies. That includes the economy, industry, good deals and sales, brands, career advice, and , you guessed it, girls. Typical conversation goes "Yaar, shalini kahan gayee hai, dikhti nahi aajkal" or "Neha sahi babe hai, aur tujhse to acche se baat karti hai" or "Dekh ch***iye, goli maar Rajiv ko, tu mere saath shift kar jaa, rent share kar lenge", or "MBA prep ke liye IMS ka material kahin se jugaad kar".

The old retired men generally talk about the old times, and the state of the country in general. Their conversations also include philosophy and most of their conversations have philosophical undertones mixed in a good measure. "Dekhiye, yeh deal India ke liye accha nahi hai" or "Maii son is living in thee states for five years."

The IT / bank guys dont talk much generally, and their faces show they are still thinking about their work. And if they do, its about the office politics or related to their field of work. "Yahan par ek EJB daal diya to sahi chalna chahiye" or "Why dont you use a unix cron job" or "Weblogic/Apache/Windows/Microsoft/Sun/Apple is great/crap" or "Boss ko ek week bola to sirf do din ka chhutti diya, saala #$%#$%!!"

The menu is almost the same across all tapris. The quality differs though. There are tapris that are famous in their own right. You can have cutting chai (its the most famous. Its just a regular little "glass" of chai but not completely filled), chai, espeshal chai, masala chai etc, and a few offer coffee too (Its almost always plain simple Bru instant since its cheaper). Then some offer wada pav (the eternal fav for a quick bite), samosas, bhajias, kanda bhajji, missal pav, etc.

The songs playing there are from all india radio or sometimes radio mirchi. Like I just heard "Ae bhai, jara dekh ke chalo" from "Mera naam joker". Some words I recall from the song, and it hits you that its true, in a way.

"Duniya ek circus hai"
"Jaanwar aadmi se jyada wafadar hai"

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