(Image source from: NewBeauty)
We have all discerned these westernized words of our much-loved Indian cuisines and beverages - golden milk (haldi doodh), clarified butter (ghee), naan bread (naan) and that most offbeat sounding of all, chai tea (tea tea?).
India's much loved milky and spiced concoction masala chai has turned well known over the world, mainly in the United States.
A number of refreshment centers and cafeterias in the U.S. are selling masala chai under the name 'Chai Tea' to delighted tea connoisseurs, who have learned to like various avatars of the masala chai.
So while we are delighted that the rest of the world is recognizing the delight of our much-loved elixir, some Indians are not excited over the name that the drink has come to be recognized by.
On Tuesday, an Indian-origin American author, actor, and model Padma Lakshmi expressed this same grumble harbored by many Indians.
Taking a cue from a Twitter user who asked her to "please tell white people" to stop using the term 'chai tea', Padma Lakshmi tweeted, "Dear White People, We love you but chai is actually the word for tea in Hindi! So when you say chai tea, you're saying 'tea tea' like the cartoon guy in the pizza ad, and all a billion brown people hear is nails on a chalkboard."
Dear White People,— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) October 30, 2018
We love you but chai is actually the word for tea in Hindi! So when you say chai tea, you’re saying ‘tea tea’ like the cartoon guy in the pizza ad, and all a billion brown people hear is nails on a chalkboard.https://t.co/UL399LRWG9
Many more people accorded in to tone their own dissents against the term. A number of users applauded Padma Lakshmi's attempts to 'de-westernize' the drink's name.
"Not all heros wear capes. Thank you", said one user.
"R.I.P. in Peace Chai Tea", tweeted another.
Somebody pointed out that this confusion wasn't restricted to just 'white people' as the countries where 'chai tea' was being sold, had people from a number of different ethnicities, races, and colors. "Right, only "white people" call it chai tea", the user tweeted, to which Padma Lakshmi was quick to respond, saying, "Dude you're right! Dear everyone who doesn't know what chai means: it means tea so you don't have to say it twice!"
Another PSA:— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) October 31, 2018
To Whom It May Concern,
You don’t have to say Ahi Tuna either. Just say you want tuna or Ahi in your poke bowl.
While she was at it, she as well cleared another food term uncertainty: "Another PSA: To Whom It May Concern, You don't have to say Ahi Tuna either. Just say you want tuna or Ahi in your poke bowl."
'Ahi' is the Hawaiian term for tuna, which means that the term 'Ahi tuna' just translated to 'tuna tuna'.