For the love of Chai
It's important to always know why you're doing something.
"For the love of chai". But it's much more than that.
I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and I'm really trying to grasp the essence of chai from India.
In 2016, after finishing Vipassana meditation in a holy town called Tiruvanamalai. I was learning Palmistry for one month with a friend named Bharat Rochlin, he died unfortunately in 2017, but he was something who massively changed my life.
Anyways during that time, I found myself helping so many people around the streets of Tiruvanamalai. There was a man who was homeless in a wheel chair, he could barely get from place to place, I spent every day wheeling him to at least one location, buying him chai whilst I walked to my palmistry lesson. There was another guy who was also homeless, who would only use sign language, he was very funny and expressive, I would also buy him chai everyday, sometimes shed a coin or two to him. There were so many locals who knew everyone, and year by year when I go back I re meet them, and it's always the same.
They're all very happy despite their circumstance, but they also all have stories. There was a girl living in Tiruvanamalai who lived in an apartment, an american girl, she almost died the year before, her husband died, and after her near death experience, half her body is paralysed. She now dedicates her life to prayer and constant meditation and worship in Tiruvanalai. Drinking chai inspiring people like me. Showing me that i could do anything I put my heart to.
I also worked at a chai shop over those two months, serving chai for mass indians, as they all laughed at this foreigner and smiled at rejoice, how i'm attempting to serve the way they do. Pouring mass chai into cups, handing the cups, it wasn't about the mess, it was all fun and games!
I don't think I acknowledge enough how much I've actually seen for someone my age. My friend Bharat Died a year later from cancer, but he had such an experience of life. Sharing the tales of Osho Ashram life. How he rented a van in the 60's and took it all over India. Back when Goa was empty and unknown to the masses.
Hopping from one shawl shop to the other, the Kashmiri owners would so welcomingly make me chai. I would sit and listen to them tell stories for hours. About the land of Kashmir, this heaven on earth.
I spent a lot of time crying that trip to India, having woken up to so many different realities. Death became normal and predominant in my existence. I just wanted to serve so many people, and do as much as I could to really help people. I didn't really know where to start.
I had a dream that year though of opening some chai stall in Australia, making Australia more communal, and more welcoming. And more together. Cooking porridge, health products, a whole lifestyle.
I became sad because in that tiny town of Tiruvanamalai, although there was so much poverty there was also so much wealth. Everyone was together. On the streets, the baba's would sit all day, looking after each other, and worshipping the mountain.
The baba's would pay for my chai every day, despite how little they had. One Baba was even looking after two puppies out of pure compassion.
I really just wanted to bring Australia as together as India was. Even though there is so much poverty in India, one cannot deny there is so much wealth.
I even spent some part of every day buying rice and vegetables for this little girl, making sure she could eat. she would live with five others in a tiny room, she was beautiful and deserved the world.
It became so easy going from place to place, helping everyone at least at some part of the day.
I don't know why Chai, but Chai became such a common thread, it was so accessible, so cheap, yet so warm. It connected me to at least everyone I've mentioned here so far. Yet to say the least, there is so many more stories I can keep going on about.
It's really founded on this dream of making this very big world, small and more connected.
I also really don't have much time on this earth to waste, to spend it doing something that's not important to me. Whether it's last minute trips to Byron, or India, or doing this or doing that, I don't really have any time to waste on not helping, or not following my gut instinct.
The little girl I would feed most days.