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Chai… with Namit K from Mumbai

I met Namit K just after sunrise at a Starbucks next to Juhu Beach. I often meet at Starbucks, not so much so to get a drink, but more because they serve as recognisable landmarks, a more pleasant and less smelly version of a McDonalds that is available in every place on Earth. Anyway, we’d planned to shoot during golden hour, but since it was overcast anyway, there was no rush to shoot so we stayed for a drink after all. I got my usual filter coffee, but Namit just wanted “tea" which bizarrely Starbucks in India doesn’t serve. Yes, they sell English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Chamomile, and other bag teas, but not Indian “masala chai”. It’s especially odd since Starbucks in the West does sell a “Chai Tea Latte”, albeit in a very inauthentic form, but here in India they don’t bother. Anyway, I asked the barista to make something “like a chai” and he did his best, which Namit drank, I believe, out of politeness.

Anyway, after our drinks we walked along the beach and took some shots. Then we got in a rickshaw and went to Namit’s place. Once there we went straight to his roof to do some nudes with the cityscape around us. That was supposed to be the end, but Namit invited me inside for some real Indian tea, a proper “chai”.

We then sat in Namit’s bedroom while his mum prepared the most delicious and spicy hot cup of sweet, milky heaven I’d ever tasted. So amazing was it that I asked him to send me the recipe; as soon as I got home to London I was down in the Indian markets in Tooting to buy the ingredients. His mum’s recipe worked a treat… if you’d like the recipe, just pop us an email!

P.S. The book you see Namit reading in the picture is a photobook by Mitch Cullen, one of the photo-artists featured in this issue’s Elska Dehors section.

To see more of Namit K and to read his story, pick up Elska Magazine issue (10) Mumbai (India).

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