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The entrepreneur duo behind Project Chaiwala, the street style chai experience, reminisce their childhood spent in old Dubai and their love for the outdoors

Idyllic Fridays

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Justin: Waking up to a big breakfast followed by a day spent at the beach would be an ideal Friday, but these days my weekends are spent thinking up new ideas and working on developing the Project Chaiwala brand.

Ahmed: On Fridays I love to go for early morning horseback riding or fishing followed by the family lunch.

On my booklist

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Justin: I am reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. One of my greatest reads was Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, which I read as part of the school curriculum.

Ahmed: Howard Schultz’s Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built A Company One Cup At A Time was a hugely interesting and inspirational read for me. One of my all-time fav is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. 

Sipping with a celeb

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Justin: I would love to serve tea and spend some time with Jeremy Piven in character as Ari Gold from the Entourage series. Hopefully he will give me an honest opinion of Project Chaiwala.

Ahmed: Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan would be great guests to drink some karak tea with.

Around the Globe

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Justin: I have been fortunate to travel across the world. However, I believe my best holiday is yet to come and that will be to my dream destination – Japan. I hope to go to Japan for my honeymoon and taste the wide variety of Japanese teas.

Ahmed: I was born into a family that is well travelled and is always keen on new adventures. My best travels were spent at sea – Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt and Maldives being the most memorable.      

From kettle to cup

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Justin: During our trip in India we visited the street markets of Kolkata where I was overwhelmed by the sensorial experience of sipping tea from busy vibrant chaiwala kiosks. That’s when I decided to bring this authentic Indian experience to Dubai.

Ahmed: We wanted to take our customers on a nostalgic trip to the early years in India through our cup of chai brewed by our chaiwalas and served in a completely modern setting.

Humming that tune

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Justin: John Legend’s Green Light, reminds me of my undergraduate days when I had no responsibilities and bills to pay.

Ahmed: Abdel Qader Yahh is an old North African song that went viral in the mid-90s in the Arab world. It reminds me of our good old days in Dubai when everything was so simple.

Creative pursuits

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Justin: I’m a huge martial arts fan and am currently practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Acting and movies are my second love.

Ahmed: Outdoor activities especially those that keep me close to the sea boost my creativity.

Growing up nostalgia

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Justin: I’m from India and have lived in Dubai since the age of eight. I have fond memories of growing up in a very vibrant part of Bur Dubai, and later in Jumeirah and new Dubai. My childhood in Dubai was as exciting and constantly changing with the times as the transformation witnessed by the city.

Ahmed: I am an Emirati and I have lived my whole life in Satwa which still retains the old world charm of Dubai. I have explored the entire neighbourhood while playing outdoors for hours with my childhood friends.