Iam fond of travelling, especially off-the-beaten path. On these trips, although I cherish many moments of solitude, I also enjoy meeting all kinds of people and it would not be wrong to say that without this interaction with the locals and other visitors, my trip would be incomplete.
Whether I am in solitude or being social, sipping a cup of hot chai is a must for me. I’ve had tea in some of the remotest parts of Pakistan with different versions of chai, such as chai made with goat milk in the desert of Tharparkar, chai with salt in the mountains of Himalayas and Karakoram, chai with too much sugar in the northwest of Sindh and chai without milk (black tea) in the Deosai Plains.
My connection with chai started with a family tradition back in my childhood. It was a daily ritual to have tea every evening. That was the time when everyone would gather together for chitchat, and the family would interact.
As I grew up, the tradition of chai sittings extended to meeting friends over chai, though later, as I began travelling, it got limited to either having tea on my own or with the people that I met there.
The one thing connecting the Himalayas with the Arabian Sea is a cup of steaming tea
Tea is not an integral part of our culture — from north to south and east to west. Most of the time, I mostly did not have to buy the cup of tea on my travels but it was offered by the locals as part of their hospitality.