Lucknow a city of –Chai and chat

 “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy tea

and that’s kind of the same thing”

This line suits best for Lucknowites. Lucknow’s love for tea is one of its kind. Some only prefer a hot cup of tea, while some prefer their cup with samosa and some with bun-makkhan or bread pakoda. You can easily find a variety of things to accompany your cup of tea.

Being an intellectually and politically active city, a steaming glass of thick tea and a warm discussion is the most common view of almost all the tea shops in the city. The city is flooded with tea shops ranging from small roadside chai ka thela to normal chai ki dukan and even tea bars and café.

Shivam Joshi, a tea shop worker of Lucknow University’s LUMBA canteen said “there is no estimate of how many cups of tea we are making. Every morning we bring 60 litres of milk but it lasts for only a few hours than we have to order more milk depending upon the requirement. Students came here, sit and talk for hours drinking multiple cups of tea. A majority of the students prefer samosa with tea. I myself drink 10-15 cups of tea in a day.”

Ajay Singh, a university student said, “We usually have small breaks between classes and for that tea is the best companion. It’s economical as well as engaging.”

Jagjeet Singh Arora is a chai thela owner near Mayo Medical Centre behind Kendriya Vidyalaya in Gomti Nagar. He is there for past 13 years and his major business with tea is bread-pakora. He said, “my business is not only from the hospital but also from school.”

jagjeet singh arora with his thela
Jagjeet Singh Arora near Kendriya Vidyalaya Gomti Nagar


Puneet Rawat a middle-aged man who came to the tea shop early in the morning after his morning walk with his friend said “it gives a refreshing start to my day. ”

Kripa Shankar Pandey, another chai-thela owner near Seth M.R. Jaipuria School in Gomti Nagar said “I use nearly 50 litres of milk every day to make tea, and my main customers are students. If 20 percent is going for jeera or biscuit than 80 percent will go for samosa or pakodi with tea.”

kripa shankar pandey

Kripa Shankar Pandey near Jaipuria in Gomti Nagar


Piyush Tiwari a student said, “After an exhausting day, a cup of tea is what we all need to make us fresh and to give us energy. It’s our daily routine to have tea here. The chai time is the best part of my day; we can enjoy both the tea and the quality talks.

Graduate Chaiwala is another special chai thela owned by three brothers- Govind, Gopal and Madhav- who are jobless graduates, outside Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. They cannot get a decent job to run their house so they came up with a small business idea, as they cannot afford a large-scale one.The Sharma Tea Stall is a world famous tea shop of Lucknow,

The Sharma Tea Stall is the most famous tea shop of Lucknow, started by late Om Prakesh Sharma and now run by his sons- Deepak and Gopal. The shop is also one of Lucknow’s Heritage Arc. The average consumption of milk in the shop per day is around 80 litres. The shop also organises many social events and get-together. Jashn-e-itwar is one such meet where alumni of St. Francis School meet.

sharma tea stall
Sharma tea stall in Hazaratganj


It’s a favourite destination for celebrities as well. Himanshu Sharma, who has written scripts for Tanu weds Manu, its sequel and Ranjhanaa is a regular customer of the shop and visits the shop every time he visits the city.
Pande ji ki Chai ki dukan is another famous tea point near BBD at Faizabad Road, serving mirch pakoda along with tea. Not only students but for faculty, the tea shop is a great hangout point. It’s an escape from stress and work for both the students as well as the faculty.

pande ji from pande ji ki chai ki dukan
Pande ji from Pandeji ki Chai ki Dukan near BBD in Chinhat


The tea lovers of Lucknow are of all age groups. A college going youngster will be as much a fan of the chai as a middle-aged or older person. Gopal Sharma of Sharma Tea Stall said “I have not seen such a craze for tea in any other city like Lucknow, the love for tea for the

Gopal Sharma of Sharma Tea Stall said “I have not seen such a craze for tea in any other city like Lucknow, the love for tea for the lucknowites is a unique thing to see. My customers are of all age group. People belonging to Kalyan Singh’s age group to a very young child in his teen all come here to enjoy tea.”

Gopal Sharma of Sharma Tea Stall said “I have not seen such a craze for tea in any other city like Lucknow, the love for tea for the lucknowites is a unique thing to see. My customers are of all age group. People belonging to Kalyan Singh’s age group to a very young child in his teen all come here to enjoy tea.”sharma tea

Planters tea bar and café, in Aminabad is the first tea bar of Uttar Pradesh. It offers around 50 types of teas, in an affordable price range of Rs 35 to Rs 65. The various types of tea include white tea fruit tea and methi tea. White tea which is liquor priced around Rs12, 000 per kilogramme, is good for heart, knee and cancer along with teeth.

It’s one of the few cities where youngsters even go for a tea-date. Ayush Singh, a city youngster said: “I like going for a tea-date instead of going for a high-profile coffee-date because it suits my budget as well as I feel more connected to tea than coffee.”

So if you are planning to visit the city, don’t miss the tea.

The Super Cops Of Kerala Who Are Saving Students From Crime And Drugs

The next time you plan to bunk classes, think twice, especially if you live in Kottayam where the police have a unique approach of keeping students where they belong – in school. Known as The Gurukulam Project, this initiative by the Kottayam Police aims to keep students away from the nexus of crime and drugs, which they often innocently fall prey to. Interestingly, over 600 schools and colleges of the district are now part of this project, and many more will join from the new academic year.

So, how did this project come to be? It all started in 2013 when during a homicide investigation it came to light that hundreds of students were involved in substance abuse. The situation was so alarming that even Class 10 students were involved. The students would change out of their uniforms and move around freely in movie theatres, bus stops, railway stations and other isolated spots. Drugs and alcohol were almost always a part of the mix.

S Sateesh Bino IPS

This state of affairs prompted the then Deputy Superintendent of Police V. Ajith to come up with a master plan to get students back on track. At first, the police conducted routine raids to round up students who were not in class. However, the students were not arrested. Instead, the school authorities and parents were informed and students would be let off with only a warning.

Going forward, to make the intervention more robust, several newer systems have been put into place, such as the online attendance tracking system designed voluntarily by engineering students, which shares information on a daily basis with parents, explains Arun Kumar K.R., Senior Civil Police Officer at the Deputy Superintendent’s office in Kottayam.

“We receive the attendance list from each school and college every day. Based on this list, a policeperson will call up the absentees’ parents and verify the reason of their absence. The parents and school authorities will then be cautioned in case of any unauthorised absence of their wards while a parallel search to chase them down will be launched, simultaneously,” explains Officer Arun. In a span of one year, they recorded 18,000 absentee details! According to the police, most students who have been absent without the knowledge of parents have in some way been involved in drugs and other activities.

“So, we appointed special people at the cinema theatre, alcohol shops, and in certain isolated places to keep a watch over students. We intend to take no legal action against these students. Instead, the focus is on taking steps to prevent them from indulging in criminal activities, providing them counselling and rehabilitation. After all, if the base of a child is disturbed, then how can we expect a strong future for him or her?” observed District Police Chief, S Sateesh Bino.

The project is now functioning well in all the four sub-divisions of Kottayam, and each sub-division has a counselling centre for students. The psychologists who do their jobs voluntarily have saved over 50 students through their efforts.

So, what causes students to go astray? According to the police, parental care, or the lack of it is a common factor when it comes to students who get caught up in crime. Either the parents are too busy in their lives or they are not able to get involved properly with the child. However, around 10% come from good families and just happen to get into bad company.

The biggest challenge has been getting schools to accept that their students can be involved in nefarious activities. However, once on board, the school’s details are kept confidential, so that no school feels any shame. After all the main intention of the police is not to harass the school, child or the family but protect the child. Officer Arun has some sound advice for teachers and school authorities. “They must not discriminate among the students after their actions are highlighted. This can cause even more damage to the child,” he shares.

Inspired by this project, the Kochi police joined hands with around 70 colleges and schools to launch a similar model. And going a step further, the vision and determination of one good policeman to make a change, has now inspired the Kerala government to launch ‘Clean Campus, Safe Campus‘. This state-wide campaign unites parents, teachers, society and the government for one common mission – to keep our school children safe. After all, children are the future of the winds of change.