Ek Kali Ek Ghori, Bandra Chai.

* Ek Kali, Ek Gori, translates to One Black, One White

Ek Kali Ek Ghori, Bandra Chai
(Cafe Delight on Hill Road)

sit myself in a green outdoor patio of a Bandra coffee shop and stare up at the chalkboard menu. All I could read was a rubric of exotic coffees and their carmalized mochaed latt├ęd frapped iced versions. A few minutes later, a black coffee arrives. As the liquid eats through my mouth acrimoniously, I long for the smell of over pasteurized milk, a slice of ginger, a savory of cardamom dust, the crackle of a rusty stick of cinnamon all concocted and alchemized into something else.

Yes, I'm talking about Chai.

Chai to be slurped greedily in chipped glasses. And so I went looking for the perfect cup in Bandra.

Cafe Goodluck

Ek Kali Ek Ghori, Bandra Chai

The ceiling fan rattles, clicks and sways as it cools the chai in the chipped porcelain cups that lie below. A boy, a torn banyan walks up to our table and slides two glasses of water across the marble top. Smoke from an entire barrage of cigarettes spirals up to the ceiling as people drink their chai an accompanying glass of cold water, reading newspapers while eating kheema (mince) samosas and buttering their bun muskas. The Cafe permeates much Bombay talk, a bright hum insulated by its vaulted ceilings from the noise of the street outside.

Ek Kali Ek Ghori, Bandra Chai

These are the musty, yet strangely comfortable confines of one of the many Irani establishments in Bombay.

The boy slides across briskly to my table and looks at me with accusatory smile.

"Ek Kali chai doosri doodh walli", I tell him thinking about chai.
[t: One Black the second one with milk.]

"Ek Kali, Ek Gori", he repeats as his yellow smile widens.
[t: One Black, One White]

Chai Wallah, Chandoli Gaon (Village), Alwar District

I laugh to myself as he walks away to the kitchen.

The chai arrives shortly only to prove to me yet again that the best cup of chai is served by a yellow smile with missing teeth belonging to a heat drenched body appearing from nowhere only to serve only more amounts of chai.

Morning Chai

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Quaint Murmur said...

My chai-drinking sessions in my (terrible) canteen are among the times I will never forget. I think the chai-culture is an integral part of life-- a place where you can ponder on the mysteries of life, a place to catch up on memories, and make random conversation.

Lovely post. Brilliant pictures, as always:)



I love this post, for reasons that I can't even explain. As someone who survives and thrives on chai , I know for a fact that it is often the unassuming hand that brings what I refer to as my cup of comfort. Personally, my grandmum's tea that she makes with some obscure brand to be found only in kerela, is top on the list. The aroma literally takes me back , the only other thing that's come close is ironically something I had in a chinese tea shop.

That was a great post and you certainly have a way with words Mr.M

Anonymous said...

I love chai and suprisingly one of the best cup of chai has been at Starbucks. Thank god for globalization... I get my daily fix of Chai!

Rachna said...

Its not gHori, its Gori.. please make the correction in your title.
You don't need the H there-
or maybe you are South Indian ;)
(with a Hech)

I thought you were talking about mares (Ghori)...

H. Cardoso said...

Another well-written report, my friend. One which made me long for a cup of proper chai myself. And I agree with you entirely, you're not gonna find the perfect cup in the Coffee Days of this world. :)

Shivani said...

Ahh, the cravings!! I want a cutting chai...nowww ;)

Ishtaar said...

Masala chai and apple pie at german bakery in pune. Yum.

India Unlimited said...

Iranian tea houses.I was wondering how an Iranian chai is different from the Gori chai. Also, i hear that their tea biscuits are to die for.
Just out of curiosity though, does anyone object to their picture being taken by you esp in a public place like a cafe ? Do you usually ask them before clicking or some such?