Almost all second and final-year undergraduate students of Delhi University colleges are appearing for end semester exams in the physical format after a two-year gap, and the real exam vibe on campus is unmissable. But, the main adda for discussions prior to and after exams remains the tea stalls. As a result, chai wallas on campus are seeing their businesses flourish.
Sipping garma-garam chai while discussing what to study for the next paper were a group of youngsters at Gopal Tea Stall, outside Faculty of Arts, North Campus. “Central Library yahin hain toh yahan pe har college se bacche aata hain,” says Anil Kapoor, who has been manning a tea stall here, since 15 years. Kapoor says, “Aaj kal subha 8.30 pe kaam shuru karte hain aur shaam mein 7.30 tak bachhe aate rehte hain. Humein pata hai exams ka time hai isiliye hum sab saaman double magwate hain. Aur aaj kal itni chai banti hai ki ginti hi nahi ho pati ki kitne cup bik gaye. Pass hi mein ek dairy hai, jahan se dhoodh mil jata hai. Sabse zyada rush hai abhi, kyunki exam khatm hone ke baad bacche kaafi aate hain.”
“Kum se kum ab humein pet bhar roti toh mil rahi hai,” adds Rajkumar Suri, who has been running a tea stall outside the Law Faculty for 18 years. He adds, “Saal bhar mein sabse zyada chai, sardi ke time mein bikti hai. Pehle garmi mein bachche aate the, classes ke beech mein ghumte ghumte, par ab toh exam khatm hote hi daude aate hain yahan. Chahe exam achcha hua ho ya bura, ek cup chai ki pyali sara sukh-dukh bant leti hai. Is wajah se humari sale double ho gayi hai.”
Chai pe charcha during exam time is truly a ritual that DU students don’t seem to be missing out since it’s after long that they are able to experience life on campus. “We have a group study a day before the exam and even after our paper. We always hang out in the college canteen sipping chai,” says Mihir Aggarwal, a final year BCom (Hons) student at Hindu College, whose fav spot is the college canteen. He adds: “Some of my friends refuse to talk about the paper! Other are like ‘Hum paper discuss kerenge’. And then there is another lot that keeps cribbing, saying ‘Kya fayda hua? Humne itna padha tha’. And all these discussions of course need cups and cups of tea to soothe all sorts of emotions that flow during the post-exam scene (smiles).”
Not only after the exam, a cup of hot chai before the exam is also a must for Jayantika Rawat. The second-year student of Political Science (Hons) at Ramjas College, shares, “No energy drink does the trick of keeping one wide awake than a kulhad wali kadak chai. It’s a must for me! Especially after studying till late at night, I need it before I appear for the exam. Once the exam is over, again I crave for chai. My friends and I collect at Sudama Tea Stall on campus and discuss the questions, wondering how well we did… Thankfully, the short showers that we have been experiencing in Delhi of late, due to the weather, make the tea taste even better.”
After pulling an all-nighter, Shubham Gandas, a second-year student of BCom (Hons) at Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) always needs a cup of tea to reboot himself and appear for an exam. “My friends and I meet online at three in the morning, and study till six. After that, we head to our college. Once our exams get over some of us go to some eatery in Kamla Nagar market, to fill our bellies. But, before any of this, most of my batchmates discuss the syllabus of the next scheduled exam by meeting at the chai ki taapri near SRCC. One glass of that amazing concoction that chaiwale bhaiyya makes, and we feel refreshed to take on the world phir chahe exam jaisa hua ho! I guess this is the most typical thing that a college student does,” shares Gandas.
Author tweets @AngelaPaljor