Boiling Chai: Melting Pots which Karak Chai Shops Are

The karak chai shops, serve not only the milky, sweet brew which is the gulf version of doodh wali chai, in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The south Asian Male worker diaspora regales in each sip as if reclaiming home, and life in a way. These shops are liminal spaces, and in between between the public and private, gossiping away work tales after hours, in native tongues while sweltering away in the balmy summer evenings. The truck driver from Pindi and the restaurant manager from Mumbai share an unlikely space, while the Bangladeshi supermarket assistant from Chandpur banters with a hair stylist from Banki in Uttar Pradesh. Colonial India gets mapped in these realms with paper cups and plastic chairs as post colonial South Asia dissolves over various versions of Urdu/Hindi infected with Bangla, Malayalam and Punjabi. The humble chai in a paper cup creates common spaces for banter which Track 2 dialogues often fail to succeed. This is a fleeting kinship of belonging fuelled by ambitions of feeding mouths back home.


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