Growing up, I wasn't much of a chai person. While my sister would look forward to the weekends, wake up at dawn to have chai-biscuit that my grandfather made, I would usher the weekend in deep slumber. However, we would all look forward to the summer holidays, to the rare treat of puff biscuits that our aunt would get from Maharashtra. Chai and puff biscuits would be the favourite breakfast and evening snack, for as long as that batch of the biscuits would last. But even then, it would suffice for me to have it once.
Exam time or illness, were the only times I ever had chai, sans any accompaniment. The fact that my grandparents made it so lovingly, was of course the contributing factor.
In the meantime, I found coffee appealing to my taste buds much more than chai ever did.
Both beverages were an uncommon element in my dietary intake and this earned me the much-desired approval of my mother, who in fact, never had either.
Obviously, inevitably, and in retrospect, rather naturally, this changed.
What inspired the change was the trip to Kashmir last summer. The temperatures in Leh are unbearably low, especially for us since we don't have much of a winter. And the cold, a searing pain in the spine. Warming appliances were inadequate, yet, hot liquids seemed to help. It was at this stage that I discovered my love for sweet-corn soup and a surprising, yet pleasant affinity towards chai.
Initially declining and wavering, soon I started partaking of this much-loved beverage. Partly because lectures and events at the University of Hyderabad are incomplete without chai and samosa, and more so, because I wanted to find whether in a changed climate I could stomach it or not.
And now, I have established an amiable bond with the drink. On rainy days or in spontaneous moments, a mini-cup of chai resonates bliss.