Yahya Tea Stall
Everyone always ignores the small tea stall on the side of the road or at the corner of a street. No one knows the history behind a small tea stall. Even Shah Rukh Khan’s father had a tea stall and served tea at a very well known drama company in Delhi, and if it was not for the star, we would probably never have known that such a tea stall existed.
Likewise, there is an old tea stall in the lane of Gali Qasmijan, right at the entrance of Phatak Luharu in Ballimaran. This tea stall was started by the late Haji Mohammed Farooq in 1969, carried on by his son the late Mohammed Yahya. It has been forty-five years since the pouring and serving of tea has been going on here. Now, the grandchildren, Mr. Farhan and Mr. Faizan, who are reporters with a newspaper, are still taking care of their family business. Their father, the late Mohammed Yahya, also owned a dairy shop named after his wife, Sabra and a hotel where the tea famously known as “Haji ki Chai” was served. Since the grandchildren did not have the same aspirations as their father, they gave up the place for rent and but have still kept the touch and name of their father through the tea stall.
When I looked at the boys preparing the tea, I was completely amazed at how it was being prepared. It was nothing like the way we prepare it at home.
The tea leaves are boiled in water in an aluminum kettle for a long time and on the other side, the milk is kept boiling, letting it form a layer of cream, commonly known as malai. The first step is to put a spoonful of sugar, a teaspoon of milk and boiled tea, and a spoon of malai. It is then stirred well and served hot. If you desire for a strong cup of tea, they add a spoon of fresh tea leaves, while pouring the boiled tea, in the strainer to give it that dark look and a strong kick. Mostly it would look like filtered tea that is served at a fancy tea shop.
There is a lively history behind this tea stall. Believe it or not a hundred and fifty cups of tea were made and served at a time which impressed me so much since there are so many different steps to get a perfect cup of tea. It definitely did not taste like the regular tea that one drinks every morning.
Nearby the tea stall, there was once a college named Tibbia College which has been shifted to Karol Bagh. This college offers education in medicine, and therefore, numerous and frequent doctors, professors, and students would be attending this college. Now a morning without a tea would not be complete and Yahya Tea Stall completed the mornings of a lot of people in the college and around. Tibbia College ordered six hundred teas almost every day, and without fail they were served with the same quality and standard.
For a couple of days, the tea stall had been shut down but by popular demand of the people living there and expressing their love for the tea and the family, the stall was back with a bang, serving tea with as much as dedication as it did when it first started.
The grandchildren besides being modernized and familiar with the media profession did not leave their ancestral house and believed that living there would keep the culture and history of the place alive. Surprisingly, the haveli that they reside in was once the haveli of Ghalib Mirza’s second wife. It definitely must be exciting to live in a house with intricate Mughal style designed pillars, doors, windows, and houses. Farhan Yahya said that the love and the respect of the people could not make him leave the place where he spent his childhood.
A must visit if you want to have a perfectly made hot cup of tea.