Under the traditional samovar is an extended trap of capitalistic dogma, and dissolved in our own noon chai is the torment of bourgeoisie values. Under the pseudonym of Chai Jai- a tea room in Srinagar on banks of dal, is running a capitalistic academy of thoughts, using our own culture to drain our wealth.
Semiotics is a study of varies signs, which communicate the meaning which is not the sign itself, and Chai-Jaai at whole is a sign of elite capitalist enterprise. In 1957, French Literary theorist, Roland Barthes published his collection of essays titled Mythologies, in which he studied Myths in French society through Bourgeois Culture signs like milk, wine, detergent, soaps etc. and studied how they constitute a norm and same is the way we study few signs of capitalism in the realms of Chai-Jaai and how they constitute a norm in our society.
To be first discussed is the emergence of Chai-Jai; though this would have been a matter of suspense for most of us if recent Chai-Jaai and Mahatta café dispute would not have been in the headlines. During this dispute was surging the scheme of making of Chai-Jaai, according to which it was put up by the Mehta’s in a joint profit- sharing with Haseeb Drabu and his wife Roohi Nazki, in 2016.
According to Saussure, the relation between signified and the signifier is arbitrary- there is no direct relation between the two. So to common people, there is no concept anything called semiotics. The infrastructure of Chai-Jaai seems so alluring and serene but behind each infrastructural merit of Chai Jaai is a sign of capitalistic model. The colour symbolism in Chai-Jaai interiors- the white-blue dichotomy of wealth and calmness is so handsomely outlined. The mirrors all over the space adeptly used to evolve the unconscious desire of a man. The section with hats- symbolical to power and authority, are a few captivating signs for a semiotician.
Myths grant stability to a culture. But capitalistic ventures like Chai-Jaai are mystifying our culture for their personal profit. The use of traditional commodity is not mere their inclination towards the culture but culture in an emotional asset of man, which can be easily used as a booby trap. The harissa, noon chai, kehwa, kulcha, sheermal, sout etc. are a symbol of cultural subjugation. Though we all are aware to these delicacies, but the Chai-Jaai harissa seems to be an elite platter. In the menu of Chai-Jaai, what got my eyes was something called noon chai latte, for me this is a clear sign of western Deculturation. Coffee latte has been a sign of elite class in west from times, and what could be done worst to our traditional noon chai by westernizing it with latte?
According to Barthes mass media propagates these myths. Reaching out audience through media is the best way to boost your business. No wonder Chai-Jaai has been featured in national and international media. This place has become the talk of the city trough native and foreign mouths.
I don’t believe in western supremacy, each culture has its own representation, which should be nourished within its own habitat. Culture should not be used as a means of profitable asset. Noon chai should remain noon chai. Chai-Jaai Harissa and Harissa from Aali Kadal should be given same regard. I don’t oppose chai Jaai, I oppose the ideology.