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January 9th, 2006

January 9, 2006


R and I went to Mustafa’s chai shop in Imambada

It was 3:30 PM

The door of the shop was half open

Half shut

(almost like the half-sleep eye).


Mustafa was not around.


I was told – Madam, shop is closed. Will re-open at 4:30 PM .


I am enjoying the experience of Khushaali Tea Café (which is what it is called)

It’s unlike the coffee and tea centers in the city.

Timings are based on Mustafa’s desires; Pace is defined by him and not by the contemporary economy and trends.

I still think this is Mustafa’s chai shop, not Khushaali Tea Café; Mustafa defines elements of its space.

(Think it will be exciting to trace the space of chai shop vis-à-vis the neighbourhood.)

I am excited!!!


  1. January 10th, 2006 at 10:38 | #1

    Your observations about pace of Chai shop defined by Mustafa’s desires and about haggling over prices (come posts below) are quite neat. Here is story told to me by someone I know. While he (a European guy) was visiting Istanbul some thirty years ago, he was wandering about a local market. He picked up a knife and asked for its price. He was told that it would cost so much. He pulled out his wallet and was about to pay when the shop owner grabbed the knife from his hands and asked him to leave. My friend was stunned. The shop owner explained to him that this was no way of shopping. The customer must come to the shop, sit down chat about the day’s weather, rant a little about politics, have a cup of tea. After that he should ask for the price of the good, express his outrage over the price and haggle for at least five minutes. At the end of it all the deal can be sealed. Otherwise it’s just a meaningless transaction, and the shop owner would not have any of it!
    Btw, you should check out Annie’s posts on Chai.