Hot Chocolate for Bhabhi

As I stood waiting for a train, something I’ve done often during my trip to England, I fancied something warm! After my year of hot Indian weather, this Great British weather is, not so great. So, what’s more heart and soul warming than hot chocolate? I followed my chocolate addiction and cold hands to the nearest coffee shop and asked for a small hot chocolate.

The barista picked up a large cup and started making my hot chocolate. “Oh, no, sorry, I wanted a small hot chocolate”. The barista, an Indian guy, carried on making it. “Um…”, I didn’t really know what to say after that, I only had enough money for a small hot chocolate in my purse. A bit awkward, I was worried he didn’t understand me.  I could see the stack of small cups so it wasn’t that they had run out of those. Oh dear, what’s going on!

“Don’t worry Bhabhi, it’s a free upgrade because you’re my Bhabhi“, the barista said with a huge smile. He had noticed my mangalsutra and the small touch of sindoor in my hair. After saying “thank you” and “are you sure?” several times and giving him a high five (I don’t know where the high five came from, I am not a regular high fiver), I enjoyed my hot chocolate and caught my train. Small acts of kindness are so beautiful!

Only hours before, my friend and I were eating dessert in a restaurant and the waiter, who wasn’t Indian, told me he liked my sindoor and asked how long I’ve been married. This all happened in multicultural London, my sindoor is often met with confusion in the part of England I am from. People usually think I have a head injury!

(Bhabhi means ‘elder brother’s wife’)


  1. Ha! What a sweet story and it’s really funny that you high fived him. Probably wanted to share some affection and gratitude and across the counter, a high five is probably what was easiest! especially with a stranger. 🙂


  2. We were in Matheran for New Years – plenty of relaxation, it was a bit cool… and hot chocolate would have been WONDERFUL there!


  3. in hinduism bhavi is given the same respect as it is given to ramayana despite being of same age lord hanuman always reffered sita mata as mata.


  4. Lovely! I used to have trouble ever paying for a taxi in Winnipeg, Toronto, NY if I happened to strike up a conversation in Hindi. While always touching, I started to deliberately NOT make the connect just so I could be assured of paying my way. 🙂


  5. I am proud of our Indian brother in London behaved so gracefully, consistent with our noble culture and upbringing in India. Such decent behavior may be getting scarce, but surely not lost yet. Thanks for sharing, and Happy new Year.


  6. Aww thats so cute. Shows that their is so many good people out their 🙂 I always enjoy reading your blog but this is the first time I cried with happiness 🙂 happy


  7. Similar to your experience ….. Laddu and Rasmalai ( indian Sweets) becomes on the house when my wife and children visit to my hometown in India. Being a small town people recognise them often.


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