12:49 PM / Posted by li i /

Dhanesh's dad was one of the first people I met, when 25 years ago I first stood bewildered in Parharganj almost sick with excitement at the long dreamt of land, suddenley a reality spread before me.

Dhanesh wasn't even born then, how strange is that..his dad Amjeet wheeled his chai cart then, and he was one of the first people to make me welcome here in Delhi.

Dhanesh makes my omlette sandwich and chai now, in the mornings before dawn prior to my morning shoots, Amjeet passed away from TB three years ago.

When Amjeet was alive he always used to have my favorite cigarette ready for me, A gold flake, sold singly (i love that about india, singly sold cigarettes!!) and it was always the best one of the day, smoked with Amjeet in the predawn, wondering who or what I would find that morning....I was looking forward to telling Amjeet I'd quit smoking the year I found him gone, and I remember how strangely cheated I felt when I learned that I couldn't share that news with him..he said I'd never quit.

How the wheels turn. Time moves on so relentlessly, just so indifferent to Amjeet or I or our lives , so unforgiving.

But I digress! Dhanesh makes a wonderful chai-wallah and a worthy successor to his dad. I hope the chai-wallah with his cart never disappears from the changing face of India, hope that his business is never crushed by the hateful corporate foam cup of crap from the miserable faceless multi nationals....I was horrified to see Mc Donalds spring up in Connaught circus, I wonder how long before the lamb burgers give way to hamburgers and the last sacred cow goes to slaughterhouse.

Oh don't change too much, India.


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