“Thus, chaos precedes tranquillity,” amidst affirmative nods, the man wearing a blue Fabindia kurta declares. Before one could verbally rebut, “Amma, ek aur chai (Mother, another cup of tea)” follows and then continues the confab. Intently involved in absorbing this conversation, the young helper, Akram scurries to refill coffers with a saccharine brew that transcends social dimensions. Come evening, Amma smiles at her fortunes; there was good business today. She earned ₹ 400 and can finally purchase the sari she saved money for.
Payal’s (Amma’s) tea stall has for years been a second home to an assortment of customers. There are no fancy billboards and recliner couches that nearby outlets boast of. Eight blue coloured plastic stools, two with wobbly legs and another with burn stains, adorn her humble enterprise. Seating is centred about a gas stove where plump, 57 year old, Amma prepares tea. Ones who don’t get a seat, gracefully stand under the expansive Pipal (Sacred Fig).
Conversations never stop; talks vary from political probabilities, personal rants, and changes in the university structure to Deepika Padukone’s dating life. Being located in the vicinity of a college induces the youthful ambience to her stall. But, Amma’s years of expertise also adds loyalists ranging from young politicians to corporate executives. Come evening, the low prices (₹ 6 per cup of tea) attract rickshaw pullers and daily wage workers, who contribute to discussions with crude yet insightful analogies. For these connoisseurs of tea, harmony beyond shackles of societal distinctions is the established theme.
Visibly, nothing distinguishes this shabby tea shop from others dotting Vasundhra Enclave. But a sip of the wondrous concoction which Amma brews sets her notches above competitors. Variants of tea are subject to Amma’s own sweet disposition. Those like the elusive cardamom tea are available particularly during rains.