Delhiwale: Tea with a Lalchand twist
This is not your cup of tea if you are looking for romance. Expect Lalchand to scorch your brew with a cold snub.delhi Updated: Aug 10, 2017 16:00 IST
It’s easy to be moved by subaltern pavement tea stalls — so makeshift and yet so firmly rooted. A tea seller’s street establishment may consist of nothing but chipped kettles and glasses but it is impossible to imagine the street without it and its complex eco-system. Indeed, a wide spectrum of people — from the market’s shopkeepers to idle passersby — are always found evolving around the stall.
Such tea shacks exist in every neighbourhood in Delhi (okay, we didn’t find any on Amrita Shergil Marg). We can, however, confidently tell you that Lalchand’s stall in Chawri Bazaar is one of the most atmospheric places for chai. The cardamom-flavoured tea is excellent — but we are Lalchand loyalists because the stall is an institution.
We never see him smile. He sits on the road like a shah, and is politer to his two lovely bone china tea pots than to his faithful customers, circling around him nervously, often blocking the traffic. Mr Lalchand’s busy hands are always a blur.
He doesn’t hesitate to scold impatient customers. He probably knows that the rebuffed man won’t mind the reproach and will keep coming back anyway. Such confidence is disarming. But then, who needs extra marketing investments when the show’s already sold out?