If you’ve never had Chai before, then stop reading. Go to your local Desi restaurant and ask for Chai right now. For those of you who don’t know, Chai translates to ‘tea’ in Urdu/Hindi. But I would never call the classic British or American tea, ‘Chai’. You see, with the translation comes a transformation. Any tea can’t just be Chai. So what makes Chai, Chai.
For me, it’s simply the process. To make authentic Chai, you can’t just boil water and stick a tea bag in there. I mean sometimes that’s necessary when you just need that extra caffeine boost without spending too much time in preparation, but to really get a quality cup of chai, you have to let yourself be free with the pot.
You see, you’re not just idle when the water slowly comes to a boil. You stare at the water with such perception that you start to channel your inner thoughts. The water isn’t water anymore, it’s a symbol that represents you. You add the tea leaves, the cardamon, the cinnamon, all the spices that you need. They represent the essentials of life. Even with these essentials, the water continues to evaporate. You see yourself struggling and unpleasant. You add the milk, which represents love. There’s a change in temperature, but soon to your surprise, it starts rising again. The mixture is at a boil once more. It keeps rising and rising until it reaches the top. That’s where you panic and turn off the heat. You release the pressure. That’s when the mixture is finally at equilibrium. Your life is at equilibrium. And that’s when you think to yourself, what the hell is this comparison between life and chai. What was I even thinking about? Oh well, at least I get my cup of Chai! Life’s good!