Chai? Chai.

Synopsis:
This is not a post about Chai consumption patterns, statistics, or its health benefits. No no.
This is a love story.
And a journey of self-discovery.
So.. buckle up!

C h a i

Of course, you’re familiar with Chai. I mean. Who isn’t, right ?! * looks around the internet universe suspiciously *
I’m going to trail you along for a non-quintessential story, quite dear to me. But first, the lovely reader is going to relate with at least one (if not more) of the below avatars that I’m going to describe. Just a little ice breaker sesh before we start on our voyage, if you may.

So. What is your Chai personality? (not a Facebook Quiz, you guys. Come on, have a little faith)

The Bare Necessities.

The essence of waking up in the morning starts with a cup of Chai. No, you dare not talk to them before they’ve taken their first refreshing sip. It’s fuel to the body AND the soul.
Also, the number of cups they have during the day goes into the void; no trace can be found. There can be no minimum or maximum count. It’s limitless.

The Medicine Man/ Woman.

They consider Chai to be the remedy to all problems of life.
Gloomy Afternoon? Chai.
Didn’t get the bonus? Cutting Chai.
Stressed or feeling low? Chai (paani kaam)
Rainy morning? Adrak wali Chai. (with Parle-G)
Fought with a roommate? Kadak Chai.
Runny nose? Kaali chai.
Hotel? Not Trivago! Dip wali Chai!

The ME-Time.

They are simple people looking for simple pleasures in life. They will find that one moment of solace in their day and make themselves a big cup of their favorite Chai. Free of all judgments and pressures.

The Sutta Squad.

Every Chai needs a cigarette. Every cigarette needs a Chai. We can never know which is when. But we can safely assume, at any given point, that it can be both!

The Experts.

The know errrrrything there is to know about Tea. (noticed how I said Tea and not Chai? Hm.) They enthusiastically boil and bubble over intricate details of tea leaves, flavors, brew time, teacups, filters, etc; whenever there is even a HINT of tea in a conversation. They are a fun walking-talking Wikipedia; what’s more, they almost always have single tea bags stashed in their bags. (fruit-flavored? hell yeah!)

The Communal Statute.

They strongly believe that a communal gathering (3 people or more works) should be commemorated with a Chai session and/ or break. Chai sipping together is a bond that they sincerely cherish and value.

The Chai Latte Crowd.

You thought I wasn’t going to call you guys out, huh? Yes, these are popularly US return folks who seem to have forgotten what it feels like to pour piping hot Chai in the saucer, blow on it and then sip with a slurpy sound. #BeingDesi
Not to forget that one, extremely cringe-worthy person who will order it in an Indian Starbucks. UGH.

I do not mean to belittle these different types of Chai lovers, not at all! If anything, they are more like my co-passengers and counterparts than some status quo war participants. We all need a Chai companion in this journey of life, even if it’s to just share a packet of Monaco biscuits.

Since you’ve sort of figured which one you are, or maybe a beautiful blend of any of the above; why don’t you sip on your cup while I paint you a short story of my Chai Life?

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Thank You COVID19! (NOT)

It happened.

The numerous times, in the past two months, that you tried to convince yourself that this virus will just “go away” is not even funny.

It happened.

It uprooted your physical/ social/ painfully normal life and changed it forever.

It happened.

The very job you detested but loved, complained but bragged about, barely survived but also thrived at – slipped out of your hand like sand. And you were left standing there, with the iconic Shocked-Pikachu meme plastered on your face.
(Oh no. Please don’t tell me you don’t know what a shocked-pikachu meme looks like.)

Who knew Pandemic, Pyjamas, and Penury were all synonymous?

The first week into the then-temporary Lockdown went by with you still digesting the reality of being unemployed and trying to get used to the quarantine life. Quite a breeze, no? 

And then weeks started passing by. Days had no names, 3 am was the new 11 pm, binging shows was the new shiz and Tik Tok was just around the corner waiting to swallow you into a world of… cringe behavior or cool videos. (However you wish to see it. No judgments. That’s a lie. There are internally screaming judgments if you choose the latter.)

Truth be told. Losing your job is like losing a close friend. Don’t roll your eyes at me just yet, hear me out.

Not literally – but comically – this is a friend you hate for taking up almost 89% of your daily life with stressful bullshit, but you can’t exclude it because it poops money.
Literally – this is also an extended version of your persona (also a close friend), that you warp into for almost 89% of your daily life.

Side note: The data accuracy may vary from person to person. The writer of this article is not to be quoted on any kind of research analysis that you wannabe nerds are looking for in your post-lockdown essays, marketing strategy presentations, or literally anything else. The number is, at best, random. Yes, you may roll your eyes at me now.

So. Someone died (your future).
There is a spirit circling you (your existential crisis).
The last rites are postponed until quarantine ends (the pity- alcohol drowning-party with your friends).
But Huzza! Not all is lost. This dreadful grief phase has an end too.There are, apparently, 7 stages of grief now. (Yeah. 5 just weren’t enough.) And if you would like to accompany me for this not-so-joyous ride into a hell-hole, read on! 

Damn, you’re still reading? Phew! You didn’t abandon me like my company. HA! Too soon to joke about it? Alright, alright.
Let’s plunge down to it: Here are the 7 stages of grief.

Shock: You feel paralyzed and emotionless.

A little extra-dramatic-shock-gasp action happened to you. And then you felt… hollow. Like your favorite Cookie Jar, had just been emptied out and crashed to the ground into million pieces. 

Denial: I’m not jobless, you’re jobless. Huh.

You behave like you’re on an unpaid leave. Yes, everything is FAAAINEE. You’re going try and make the most of all the free time you have now. Cause things are going to go back to normal soon, right?

Anger: *ducking corona ARGHHH!!*

Welcome – bouts of frustration: harsh venting to your friends, checking up with your ex-co-workers, the misplaced rage that you throw on your mom when she asks you if you’re applying for other jobs, and much more. 

Bargaining: Perseverance is key, right?

It’s time to try and to swallow that bitter pill. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise? I was thinking of quitting anyway. Maybe it was time I moved to something better?

Depression: Lonely… I’m Mr. Lonely.

All your other friends are ‘WHF’. They’re busy either eating, sleeping, or working. Their life trains are still on the track while your track got buried underground somewhere, nowhere to be seen. You doubt your experience, your work, your skills, yourself. Yeah, you’re doomed.

Testing: Peek-a-boo

You’re finally peeking out of your self-isolation shell to test the waters. Friends are not being left on Read anymore, rather you are subtly seeking their counsel. Some are sending you links from job portals; you look through them twice, once dejected and once a little hopeful. It’s now a 40-60 chance.

Acceptance: I guess it’s time to ‘Hustle From Home’ 

Yes, I’m out of work. No, I’m not embarrassed anymore. Yes, it’s difficult. No, “you are super talented, you’ll find a job soon” doesn’t always help. Yes, it is time to accept the ‘new normal’.

Somewhere between these pointers, you felt my pain, did you? Even if you’re one of those dangling in-betweens.

To all the souls who are currently on this emotional-rollercoaster-wave of Grief, all I have to say is – been there done that. Still doing that. Ugly crying while updating your resume is a phase, it does get better. You will also learn to cry on the inside while applying on LinkedIn, trust me it’ll be an achievement. 

And if doomsday still looms over your head and you feel like you’re stuck in roller coaster seat, running in a loop? Hit me up. We can zoom call and sob about it while we bake a lousy chocolate cake in a mug. What do you say?