Uppma Virdi, settled in Australia, a lawyer by profession, has been facilitated ‘Businesswoman of the Year Award’ at the India Australia Business Community Awards held in Sydney.
26-year-old Uppma Virdi, hails from Jalandhar and lives in Melbourne, and has been given the award for taking the aroma of fresh Indian tea to Australian households.
Women had a hobby of making extraordinary ayurvedic tea with dash of spices like ginger, cardamom (elaichi), jaggery (gur), dalchini, saunf etc, coupled with the expertise of her 96-year-old grandfather Pritam Singh Virdi’s recipe, gave birth to a startup ‘Chai Walli’ in 2014.
Virdi talking on the occasion said: “I do not find anything degrading in being a chai wallah or chai walli. Selling tea on roadside in India is seen as degrading but for me it is not so. Every Indian home has a ‘chai walli’, that is, our mother. She makes tea for everyone at home every few hours. So does that mean it is degrading? My parents were opposed to this name but I was firm on it. I am yet to break the award news to my old grandfather. He will be ecstatic.”
She further added: “We are selling everything related to chai now,” “It is probably when you move from home that you realize what you miss the most. For me it was the chai of my grandfather,” says Virdi. Chai Walli also supplies Indian tea to Australian cafes, stores, supermarkets etc now.
Virdi has taken this form to a new height and also conducts ‘Art of Chai’ workshops and ‘Chai Bars’ in Australia and also documenting India chai wallahs on her trips to India.
“People can taste chai and learn to make it at our workshops. We are also looking for steel kettle pots and racks used in India now,” she said.