Masala Chai with Eastside Community Heritage


People who subscribe to Up Your Street represent all the diverse ethnicity of residents in places around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and because they’re of the New Generation (phrase coined from a Soapbox participant meaning that for the first time seniors aged beautifully 50 up to 90 say have accidentally created the first definite cohort rather than being the older generation which meant the invisible crowd. “New Generation suits.”) they have seen and experienced multi-culturalism in its flourishing wave in the eighties. So those assembled at today’s reminiscence tea knew of chai and Indian sweets and snacks. They eat and cook all foods, make cheese sandwiches and samosas, drink Lassi and tea from every plant. No flies on them. They managed to gobble all the sugar on the table.

The scene was set at Valentine’s Mansion being the tea time scene of a rich Indian family circa 1914. The meat was in the questions posed by Eastside Community Heritage, questions that forced debate and family memories, individual opinions and a willingness to learn from each other. We discussed Ghurkhas, Trinidadian dads with gas masks, second-hand tea leaves, telly programmes about Indians in the British Army, “Who Do You Think You Are?” recruitment of boy soldiers, and so much more emphasising that we were not surprised that millions of Indian men served under George Vth : first hand stories from granddaughters sitting drinking masala chai on a hot September afternoon in the wild grounds of an ancient mansion added to our received knowledge gleaned over years of self-learning and curiosity.

We had enjoyed one of the best community engagement projects this side of the moon equalled by East London In Flux”.