By David Michael Newstead.
I love chai and a while back I realized that my nearest Starbucks is actually right across the street from a family-owned Indian restaurant. At the time, I stood there looking back and forth, finally putting two and two together. Why hadn’t I thought of this sooner? Instead of buying chai at an impersonal corporate entity, I could just as easily enjoy a more authentic experience, while also contributing to a local business. But it wasn’t until I started frequenting the place that I noticed it was open almost all the time. The restaurant was never empty, but it’s also never full either. When I go in, the lady brings me my chai and perhaps an appetizer and I sit there, lost in my cup of tea. I drink my drink and think my thoughts and stare at the artwork on the wall or the pages of the latest book I’m reading. I order another tea and eat samosas until there are no more samosas. Then somewhere in there, I stir my drink in hypnotic little circles and ask myself big life questions for which I have no definitive answers to: remembering old friends, wondering about a rough outline for the future. I just don’t know. It’s been said that there aren’t any answers at the bottom of a bottle and that’s true. But when it comes to cups of chai, I’m at least inclined to keep looking.