They say if you want to take the political pulse of India, head to a chai stall. Indians love their chai and Indians love to talk politics. So, why not combine their love for both at the chai stall. Journalist, politicians, pollsters and anyone and everyone who wants to know what's on the mind of the Indian people, get their information over a cup of chai!
And starting tomorrow, the world's largest democracy begins voting for the General elections. And the numbers are staggering as they always are in India. Spread over 6 weeks, 9 phases, 543 election constituencies and 814 million voters, this is democracy's largest spectacle!
And this election, the humble cup of chai has occupied centre stage. For any non-Indian reader, it all began when Narendra Modi was projected as a national party's Prime Ministerial candidate. His life story has a modest beginning. As a young boy, he worked as a chaiwallah (tea vendor), a point he proudly states, to show how far he has come in life.
So, when an Opposition politician mocked him on this very fact, he responded as a true politician. He and his party launched an unique programme where he reached out to voters across the length and breadth of this vast country, through videoconferencing so that he could interact with voters and answer their questions. The points of contact for these interactions, no guesses, were all chai stalls! So, in elections 2014, India's most favoured drink also became one of the most overused words of this election.
So, what goes into a cup of chai? It is a concoction of black tea, milk, a few spices and loads of sugar. And chai is a very emotive issue for most Indians. We are extremely picky about how we like our cup of chai. A cup of chai in the morning that does not make the mark is almost an omen on how things are going to go for the rest of the day.
And no two cups of chai are ever the same, be it from a home kitchen or a chai stall. And moreover, the way tea is made in India is intuitive and instinctive, refined and adapted to one's taste. So, it is almost futile to write a recipe that will satisfy all. But, I did come across a recipe by Anjum Anand that is aimed at non-Indians, to give you an idea of what goes into that cup of chai that India cannot get enough of! It is more of a master recipe that is to be adapted to your liking!
So, now that we have discussed how the humble cup of chai made its way to the heart of Elections 2014 campaign, there is only thing left to do. Go and cast your vote India. Your vote is your voice. The time has come to speak up and be heard!!