I have a deliciously bad habit of drinking Karak chai too close to bedtime. It has no effect on my sleep. I can down four cups and doze off 2 minutes later. It's lucky and unlucky at the same time because there is no limiting need to stop.
You see Karak chai is still a treat. It's like chocolate; creamy, sweet and calorie-ridden. Karak is basically chai tea mixed with spices and milk (or cream) that has been cooked for a long time. Over time, the water boils away, the milk (or cream) thickens and the flavour intensifies, producing a dark brown color. Sugar or condensed milk is then added, resulting in a creamy sweet concoction.
This color of Karak makes me just as happy as that first sip of creamy over-cooked sweetness. When it spreads over the front taste buds, glides across the tongue and is washed down in a slow, satisfying gulp. I take the longest time to enjoy this first sip and the darker the Karak, the greater the anticipation is.
It's like your morning coffee except that it does the opposite. Instead of giving a jolt of energy, it has a calming effect. It's a mindfulness ritual that involves a slow, conscious awareness of the color, aroma, creaminess and intensity of the Karak and the conscious act of drinking it; which ultimately signals the end of a stressful experience or elevates an otherwise mediocre moment. If you have a similar love for hot drinks I urge you to try it.
Savor the moment of that first sip; take in the dark intensity against the white ceramic, feel the warmth radiating through the cup, pay attention to the thickness and sweetness of that first sip. Really enjoy that first gulp with a peaceful satisfaction.
I will seldom refuse a cup of Karak chai no matter how late in the evening. It's a deliciously bad habit that I may regret when I'm older. But it's mindfulness influence has been so immense that I value it highly, and I would recommend you to try it at least once if you haven't already.
I know I won't stop anytime soon.
And that is something I will not be losing sleep over.