Chai Banarsi was a known hangout spot for not only college students, but people from all walks of life.
But their city-wide famous tea was not what Anita was there for. She was there for her muse. Her inspiration.
The old man she was talking to was a permanent fixture near the stall, but he was not there to give the shop any business. Homeless friendly drunk who was a grandfather to everyone, was there just for gossip.
He both shared and received.
He boasted of being there from before the place became the hub of activity it was today. Ranted about the noisy crowd. Talked of a time when his blood was younger than those around him.
Right then, he was telling her about the guy who owned the tea stall. Vicky.
“Vicky had always had an eye for location. Yes, the police men ask for more for prime locations like this and the population he attracted because of it, but the stall paid for itself and more. It has given him enough profit to open many more small tea stalls like it, all over Banaras. Or is it Varanasi nowadays?” He didn’t wait for Anita to answer his question. ”Government changes the names of cities so often these days that one has no means of keeping track of all of them by himself. Any way where was I?” he asked, taking a sip of the tea that Anita had brought for him as bribery. That, and a pack of cookies. This way, he remained sober enough to talk to her, but also not drinking tea on an empty stomach, destroying whatever insides alcohol consumption hadn’t in him.
“The many tea shops this guy, Vicky, owns.” Anita replied, sipping her own chai from Kulladh they served tea in. Not many places had this novelty anymore.
Government wanted to save the top layer of soil so one-time use of mini earthen drinking glasses were becoming scarce among stalls. Not to mention the logistics of carrying them around.
The old man continued, “You wouldn’t think he would be earning as much as he does. He just owns some small tea shops around the city. But I’ve heard that he owns one of every three small tea shops around and inside the city. Goes around on his motorcycle, though I’ve heard he has a big house.”
Old man took another break from his tale while Anita mused on how similar the guy sounded to her match-making mother.
“He has come very far, that boy, despite the large disadvantages he faced in his life.”
“Why? Is he disabled or something?” Anita asked, thinking back to when she had first seen Vicky. Maybe a wooden leg or something else hidden from direct view…?
“Oh no! No, no. It is worse.” He said. Then, lowering his voice to a secretive tone, he said, “He is the son of a prostitute.”
“Hmm.” Anita agreed in ascent, “That is way worse.”
Anita looked towards a loud sounding motorcycle approaching them and saw the subject of their conversation approaching them.
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Mili is pen name of Ankita Maurya. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and economics and is currently pursuing her master’s. She is one of those obnoxious people who prefer to be behind the camera than in front of it.
3 responses to “Chai Banarasi Chapter 1”
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Thank you. Next chapter will be posted next week. Please stay tuned for that.
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Do visit my blog too 🙏