My long cherished desire to visit Chandni Chowk (or should I say #Dilli6) finally got fulfilled and that too in the most exciting way possible. Le Meriden Delhi organized its 1st ever tea trail which is part of their experience based events held from time to time. The trail took us through the bylanes of Delhi, giving us a glimpse in the history of this city and culminated in the most insightful manner.
First stop was the Jain Tea-stall at Chandni chowk/ #Dilli 6. To get here we had to abandon our larger rides and get on a cycle-rickshaw. This shop’s been functional since pre-independence and is now managed by the 4th generation. Although it's famous for Chalu chai, we were served masala chai with almond slivers in it. Trust me the crunch of almonds simply elevated it to another level. Also, the flavour was so balanced that every part went very well with the whole. They are not just ordinary chai-walas, but also faith healers. They are said to have found a herb that cures Jaundice, and the success rate of which is claimed to be 99 %. They also have a cure for diabetes.
A humbling experience awaited us next- we got to meet Shri Laxman Rao the tea vendor who is also an author, publisher and seller of his no less than 24 titles. He’s been felicitated by the president and shared us with us his journey from a mill worker to the author of 24 books, all this while managing the tea stall under a tree. The inspirational speech ended with a huge applause for this man who was just secondary qualified when he started off, but completed his post-graduation in Hindi literature last year at the age of 52. He plans to continue his education and earn his doctorate. Not to mention that gen next has been inspired and have taken off in life. Just another example that goes to show that no matter where you start or what your circumstances in life, if you have the courage and persistence to follow your dreams, dreams do come true. His inspiring story has been covered by many a leading newspaper over the years, not to mention he enjoys a huge fan-following on social media. So don’t wait- go like his page (and mine).
Back at the hotel another insightful and stimulating interaction awaited us. We caught up with Vikram Mittal, an IIT Delhi alumnus and one of the most respected tea sommeliers of the country. Mr Mittal- who is also the second generation in the tea business- explained the finer nuances of tea tasting. How it is judged on the basis of the raw leaf appearance, aroma, the flavour, et al. When asked if tea could be paired with food a la wine , he explained due to the added advantage of tea being an appetiser and a palate cleanser it may be possible to some extent .