Little Quetta personified in scores of chaey khana in the twin cities
After taking Pakistan’s port city Karachi by storm with their 24/7 tea house culture for decades, the enterprising heads of Balochistan’s Pashtun populace have ventured into the twin cities with a bang. Tea joints run with an inseparable tag of Quetta have been witnessing a mushroom growth of a neat chaey khana or tea house culture in the twin cities.
Taking tea at least twice in a day has become a household culture in Pakistan and the proprietors of such tea houses carrying Quetta’s tag are striving hard to serve people out of their homes with their karak or strongly brewed cup of tea with all sort of lachchay walay or the layered and stuffed paratha. Unique are the handle-less cups, they have been serving tea in.
Four years ago there were hardly fewer tea stalls of Quetta’s brand known as Quettawal in Rawalpindi but nowadays they have been opened in almost every major place of the city. Islamabad, the capital city, is not immune to this burgeoning trend as far as having ‘a paratha over tea’ option is concerned. Like their PSL counterparts, they’re proving themselves real gladiator while competing within the real curry industry of the country.
As they got the reputation of serving best brewed tea with crispy paratha so whenever there is opening of a restaurant of this trademark, people start visiting it. Others who have similar outlets like them, start thinking either to improve their quality of business or wrap up it because who would like to visit them for poor quality stuff and below par service when they have the chance to enjoy better one.
Badshah Khan, a teenager at Pakistan Quetta Café is currently serving as a waiter at the newly opened restaurant and tea-stall, Quetta Pakistan Café at Murree Road, just opposite Liaquat Bagh.
Since his arrival in Rawalpindi from Killa Abdullah, Balochistan he has served in number of teashops which shared brand name of Quettawal. When inquired from him he said he is enjoying his job and learning skills how to deal customers. He hopes that one day he would also open a teashop of his own. He knows a lot of precedents when people like him who were earlier waiters, later on developed their own business and flourished. He is learning this trade keenly and future entrepreneur is in making.
A landscape wallpaper at the tea shop where Badshah Khan serves read as: “Tea is also a great blessing and this thing is known to only those persons who got the taste of it.” Earlier this place was occupied by known another entrepreneur who had specialization in selling fried fish.
There seems mushroom growth of these teashops in the city almost everywhere. There are dozens of these outlets on Murree Road, Rawalpindi alone. After the distance of almost ever kilometre, one may find an outlet of Quettawal Chai (tea). They have names like Quetta Chaman, Quetta Zam Zam, Quetta Pakistan etc. Actually other names along with Quetta have no value as it is prefix of Quetta which matters and attracts the customers. This prefix assures the visitors the quality and the taste of tea on these places.
Sanaullah Khan, an artist and journalist who has seen developing Rawalpindi from a neat and clean city to one of the most congested cities of Pakistan told this writer that there were hardly fewer of these teashops, a few years ago but now they make their presence felt all over the city. According to him the business pattern of these outlets speaks itself that solid and well-organized investor or investors are behind it and they know how to succeed.
“A few days ago I was near Novelty Cinema, Kashmir Road and thought to visit an old and time tested private library/bookshop but I was stunned to note that it was nowhere and teashop of Quettawal was selling tea and paratha over there. I asked the proprietor of the shop where is the owner of the library? He told me that he sold his shop to him because better price was offered to him besides books were no more required,” Khan said.