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My First Chai

After the spending the morning job-hunting, resulting in failure, I wasn’t expecting much from the café I spied across the street. Defeated, and no longer wanting to make decisions, I asked the server what they were best known for. After a few questions to narrow it down, she ordered me a chai and told me that it would be called out when it was ready. After picking it up from the bar, I made my way back to the table and slumped into my chair.

Lost in thought, and distracted by the disappointment of the day, I was not expecting my senses to be so overwhelmed by the sweet, spicy sensation of the drink I had just taken a sip of. It was nothing like I had ever tasted before and it took all my will power to not drain the cup straight away. The more I had to drink, the more my mood improved and by the time the cup was emptied, my love affair with Chai had been born.

Over the next few weeks, I began to obsess over my next fix, figuring out when I would be near a Remedy to indulge in another cup of chai.

I made my way to Remedy far more often than I could afford, drank so much that I basically bled Chai and soon realized that unemployment and my comfort-in-a-cup were quickly becoming enemies.

As my bank account drained, I came to the conclusion that I would have to wean myself of the one constant in my life, and attempt to do the impossible: replace my chai with something far more affordable while searching for a job.

The first week I cheated more times than I’d like to admit. With my stamp card almost full, while making me happy (free drink, woo!), also called my will power into question. My dependency upon a drink was stronger than I ever deemed imaginable, and with every sip of chai, I convinced myself that this was ok. It was not.

When the second week came around, I found I was busy and therefore didn’t have time to think about Remedy and all its deliciousness. I only managed to make it down to my local Remedy twice and upon my second sitting I soon discovered that the real issue with chai is that it goes well with so many other things. Such as butter chicken, samosas, or the green chili chicken wrap, just to name a few. My obsession was evolving.

By week three I was struggling. In part because I was a struggling writer; In part because nowhere was hiring; but mostly because my budget for spending was getting tighter and tighter. I had to be frugal and relentless, so I cut chai out of my life cold turkey.

It was like having to pretend that it had all been a dream. A very, very good dream.

I had been Chai free for about a month when one warm summer day, fate decided to intervene. I woke up and decided to go for a run. There is nothing particularly unusual about this, other than the fact that I do not like running. Halfway through my run (jog), I stumbled across a sign that read, ‘Job fair at Remedy.’ I was gob smacked. Could this really be? A Remedy in my neighborhood? Chai, my chai, just down the road?

Tired, out of breath, and resembling a tomato, I ran home and cleaned myself up. I printed out a resume, stuck my face in the freezer to bring it to a normal temperature and crossed my fingers as I walked down the road to the new Remedy Café.

Giddy and nervous, I knew that somehow the universe had aligned.

One year later, employed and happy, my love affair with chai still burns deep. Except now I don’t have to hide from it. Each day I meet chai lovers just like me and count myself lucky that there is a flurry of people who understand the need, the desire, the frenzy that Remedy has introduced to the World.

If I had known that day I spied the cafe from across the street, that one drink would change the course of my life for the better, I would have taken a beat and savoured the moment. After all, it’s not a lifestyle, it’s a CHAI-style!

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