(29) Chai



At the door is a young woman, dark brown eyes and short wavy layered bob haircut. She carries a travel backpack on her shoulders, a Samsonite spinner in the colour of midnight blue standing upright beside her.

"Aunty, I'm arriving earlier, hope you don't mind!" With a step forward, she stretches out both arms and gives Mrs. Bento a full embrace.

Mrs. Bento is not overly surprised to find Chai at the door. She knows she's coming, just not knowing exactly when. Chai is her niece, the only daughter of her younger brother Qi. After graduating journalism from the Ryerson University Chai returned to her home base in Hong Kong, picked up some contractual and freelance work. From her last phone call she'd already told Mrs. Bento that she's planning to stay in Toronto for a while, to continue research on her project - The Anatomy of A City: Toronto Chapter.

"Not at all! Come in come in, let me take your luggage." Mrs. Bento plants a deep kiss on Chai's cheek, turns her head towards the house and shouts, "Chai's here Bento!".

As a child Chai was bright and outgoing, an adventurous, loveable little rascal. She has a special place in Mrs. Bento's heart. In reality, her name was even given by Mrs. Bento. When? A scene flashed back to a café inside a bookstore. A week ago before Chai was born, Mrs. Bento's brother Qi was in Toronto. They went to Chapters Starbucks for a chat. Qi looked up the menu board and ordered Chai Tea.

"What Chai Tea, chai is chai, tea is tea, what exactly do you want, chai or tea?" said Mrs. Bento, expelling the air of an elder sister.

"Chai Tea, written on the board!" Qi said, pointing his fingers at the board.

"Do you know they are wrong? Chai means tea in Hindi. It's boiling black tea with milk, sugar and spices. When you say Chai Tea, literally it means tea tea. So you want tea tea … tea tea ..." Mrs. Bento unabashedly mimicked some baby talk.

"Oh, I didn't know. Chai I guess. I like the strong spicy flavour."

"Good choice. I'll order chai too, sweet and fulfilling, always revitalizing. I have an idea, let's name your baby Chai, if you still haven't got one." Mrs. Bento was just kidding at that moment. She hadn't the faintest idea, just after a few days, a healthy baby girl of 7.5 lb was born, and named by her father as Chai.