Conversations around Chai

a food experience designed for the community to engage in the street-style culture of chai. This experience came to life in an Independent study with Professor Charlie Cannon at the Rhode Island School Of Design.


Imagining how the content on page, writings on food in this case, can be imagined as an experience out in the world. As a beverage that excudes convivilality, how do chai stalls on the streets of  India operate if they are taken out of their context and housed on the streets of a different country. To explore if food really unites us or builds communities, or it is more complicated and layered than that (it is).Imagining spaces, especially streets as places where people can gather and eat/drink together.

Chai pe charcha is not a novel idea, not a play on the chai ki thaddi, tapri that we see in every nook and corner of India. Instead, it is an attempt to reinforce the powerful associations with the beverage , the breaking of four walls, the (mostly) seamless flow of conversations around sharing a cup of tea and the mazaa of sipping a hot concoction on a cold day.

Vuja De

Vuja de is experiencing something familiar as if it were strange and unknown. For the event, I wanted to create something to evaluate the ability of gathering, the effect of having a cup of chai and reminiscing the memories of eating together. We handed out cards for people to fill out their favorite eating together memory and these were the few responses that we got:  
“ hot pot with family”
“Being a 6-year old and eating mangoes with my grandfather every summer afternoon”
“Golgappa stalls”
“Picnics at Lodhi Garden”
“Hosting tea parties with grandma”
“Thanksgiving in California”


With the success of our 'Chai pe Charcha' initiative which was dedicated to capturing the essence of those brief yet meaningful conversations that often vanish once the cups are empty. The idea for this column emerged from the valuable and thought-provoking conversations, participation, and moments of sipping chai that helped to temper the freezing cold.

Romanticizing the simple pleasure of sipping on a cup of chai, I want  to take a closer look at it.From exploring the cultural significance of chai, to showcasing the stories of the people behind your cup of chai.