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Delhiwale: Tea house with a magic wall

Does the wall show the blue of the oceans and the green of the continents? Is it a grand design or just moody?

delhi Updated: Feb 01, 2018 10:14 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Delhiwale,Dilliwale,Alam Tea Stall
Alam Tea Stall in Old Delhi may be one of the most atmospheric tea shops you’ll encounter.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

At first glance, we seem to be gazing at maps. Could that be North America or perhaps Africa gone awry?

But that’s precisely one of the charms of this ersatz and hugely popular tea shop. The startling bright blue paint peeling off the walls seems to reveal patches of moss-like greenery resembling continents.

Or perhaps something else, but the point is this: Alam Tea Stall in Old Delhi may be one of the most atmospheric tea shops you’ll encounter.

You find yourself surrounded by pleasant distractions.

Like the soothing chai made just the way you like it — less sugar, more cream, whatever.

In the morning the shop is redolent of freshly roasted rusks (toasts) served with salted Nutralite butter.

The mostly male clientele share secrets. Eavesdropping is never polite, is it? But if you can’t resist you’ll hear a bit of the local life.

Now, in wintertime, some passers-by pop in simply to warm their hands above the steaming kettle.

But we are most fascinated by the peeling walls. We’ve urged the owner never to repaint. We hope he’ll oblige, while also continuing to maintain very long opening hours. Alam Tea Stall opens in the morning and doesn’t wind up until 1am.

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 10:14 IST