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Aik payali Garam Chai chaheyah (A cup of hot tea is required)

Every season has its own joys, colors and festivities, and humans associate various cultural norms and rituals with each one. When we think of Summer, cool and breezy towns/areas, cold drinks and light colors makes us feel cool and help us compete with the scorching heat. In the same way dark colors, hot and warm drinks, dry fruits, and warm clothing are associated with Winter. Even the preparation for the Winter season starts before its arrival. In winter people especially prefer hot drinks like coffee and tea, to keep their body temperature warm.

The month of November is considered to be one of the coolest months in Pakistan. “Chai Chaheyay” is a very common term that is used by very common people in Pakistan, and mostly this term can be heard with the beginning of winter season. Aik garam payali Chai Chaheyah means “A hot cup of tea is required”. The demand for chai (tea) increases everywhere, whether it’s at college, the university office, or any shop that you might visit during winter in Pakistan.

In Pakistan tea is popular drink all over the country and has vital significance locally and culturally, thus making it one of the most in-demand beverages in Pakistan. Pakistan is ranked the third largest importer of tea in the world. Tea prices in Pakistan have increased almost six times since 1990-91, and Pakistan imports tea from 21 different countries, including Kenya, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

In local Pakistani language word “chai” is used for tea. For many people their day remains incomplete if it’s not started with chai. Someone has beautifully expressed these feelings: “A good cup of tea can change your mood”.

Chai is also a symbol of hospitality in Pakistani culture and it is impossible not to be offered chai if you are visiting a Pakistani.

Thousands of years ago, especially in the East, people considered tea as a sign of good health, happiness, and wisdom. Tea was the first safe non-alcoholic drink, and despite the high cost of the tea leaf, the tea drinking habit gained momentum. Many people now prefer to drink tea to keep their bodies warm during winters.

Different kinds of chai are famous in every city and village of Pakistan. The most famous and in-demand tea is Dum ki chai. This tea is the standard hot tea that is available everywhere and at every shop. This tea is made by boiling water, sugar, milk and then adding black tea.

Pakistani people prefer this kind of tea always and drink it many times in a day. The second most popular kind of tea is called Doodh Patti. It is a milk-based tea rather than water-based, and is boiled with milk and sugar.

The third kind of tea is called Masala chai, which is prepared with different spices including, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise and cloves, and sometimes even fennel seeds.

The fourth kind of tea that you might come across is called Kashmiri chai. This chai is served on special occasions like marriages or parties. Kashmiri chai is also known as ‘Gulabi or Pink’ chai, due to its pink colour. kashmiri chai is mixed with tea leaves, milk, pistachios, almonds and cardamom.

The last kind of tea is Qahwah, which is very popular in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Qahwah is also known as Green tea and Subz chai. It is green in colour. Qahwah is made by green tea leaves, cardamom and sometimes cinnamon bark, mint and lemon grass. Qahwah can be sweetened with sugar and lemon. Mostly people drink green tea after eating to help digest the food.

Chai also has numerous medical benefits to the human body. Medical research has revealed that drinking tea can help keep the human body safe from different diseases, such as cancer, bone density, arthritis, flu, high blood pressure and heart disease. Recent research suggests that drinking tea may even help prevent everything from cavities to Parkinson’s disease and some studies specify it can even save lives.

After water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. If you want to start your day with a perfect drink then ask for aik garam payaliChai’, ki.

As Sydney Smith once said:

“Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea! How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.”





Images. All photos by Palwasha Khan.


2 Responses to Aik payali Garam Chai chaheyah (A cup of hot tea is required)

  1. Nida Khan says:

    Beautifully written. A very informative article. Good effort by Palwasha.


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