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I am very grateful to the author that s/he gave a full description on Indian life, tea and history....
I want to read the book - over a nice cup of tea!
Wow...great idea. Plz work hard & write this book. We'll love to read it...with a cup of hot Darjeeling tea..:-)
nice job. very interesting. my dad tells me that the "special tea" name started being used during WW2. due to wartime rationing sugar was scarce and most people (and tea shops) used gul/jaggery. if you knew the shop owner you could ask for "special" chai to get tea made with real sugar from the black market.
Intense research with amazing clarity indeed! The only way this could have happened is over several cups of tea. Thanks for the wonderful write up and pictures.
Sushil Kumar Sharma
I read this article, 'Chai, why?' with 'hot' enthusiasm as since childhood I have been drinking this ubiquitous , tea, chai as it is commonly called. In our childhood, chai was made with Lipton powder, water, milk and 'gur' (raw sugar) as white sugar was then an expensive commodity in the rural household. When the guest arrives, only then the white sugar was used, to enhance the taste and make a nice impression! Philip ji has made remarkable efforts to trace its roots from the colonial times to the present and dwelt well on how it became a product of mass use, in almost every Indian household, in very lucid and interesting text.
n the near future I am giving a lecture/demonstration to a social group regarding masala cha, and was delighted to find your article, the wonderful illustrations and associated bibliography. I'm a retired social worker with a background in anthropology, and I had long surmised the points you make regarding class and tea history in India. So nice to have justification for my opinions! Thank you, indeed! I hope the book is in progress, and going well.
Nice introductory piece. As you mentioned, there is a difference between the public culture of tea drinking and coffe drinking in south India, especially Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Karnataka. Kerala is another story entirely, where coffee is entirely a five-star phenomenon. But the interesting thing is that chai gets into the cafe culture as "chai" a la Starbucks style not really as tea. On sidewalks and in homes, people ask for "tea" (made in the way you describe) - "chai" has a slightly boutiquey connotation.
greatly enjoyed the essay and images, i do hope you will continue and develop a book version. Most interesting research. Please keep me posted.