Cutting Chai with Sanjith Konda House

Sanjith Konda House is the founder of Dropout Chaiwala, Melbourne's first street chai cafe located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD.

Reading Time: 2 minutes


This month, we talk to Mr. Chai himself! Sanjith Konda House is the founder of Dropout Chaiwala, Melbourne’s first street chai cafe located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD.

Lakshmi Ganapathy: You started off in business school then dropped out to make chai. What was this leap of faith like?

Sanjith Konda House: It was a big call; I was going down a very uncertain path, thinking it can either go all good, or all bad. My family didn’t know I was going to do this; I was the first entrepreneur in my family. I had limited funds, and I had to decide whether I wanted to continue the degree or start the business, and I had a strong feeling I would work better if I chose the business, so I just jumped into it.

Lakshmi: What’s the go-to order at Dropout Chaiwala? What’s your favourite menu item?

Sanjith: Cutting and Masala Chais are always competing with each other. Cutting Chai is especially popular in winter, and Masala Chai does well in summer. My favourite item is always Cutting Chai, and out of the snacks, Samosa, but recently I’m drifting through Bombay Sandwiches, so for now it’s Cutting Chai and Bombay Sandwich.

Lakshmi: It seems chaiwallas can become prime minister. Where do you see yourself at 50?

Sanjith: Maybe one day, prime minister – I wouldn’t say no, ’cause I was part of student politics for a long time. I’d love to go back into politics. If life gives me a chance, why not!

Sanjith Konda
Source: Instagram

Lakshmi: What’s something you’re currently listening to/reading/playing/watching?

Sanjith: I’m currently reading Zero to One: Notes on Startups and How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel, and I listen to Raj Shamani’s business podcast [Figuring Out] and try to match the visions the guests talk about with my vision.

Lakshmi: What’s a word that you like in a South Asian language, and what does it mean?

Sanjith: ‘Kala’ (కల) is a Telugu word which has two meanings; one is ‘talent’ and the other is ‘dream’. Everything I do and want to do revolves around that word.

Lakshmi: And finally, Soan Papdi or Papdi Chaat?

Sanjith: Papdi Chaat. I’m not into sweets or desserts that much, so if you give me a sweet or savoury choice, I’ll go for savoury.

READ ALSO: Cutting Chai with Shahmen Suku


Lakshmi Ganapathy
Lakshmi Ganapathy
Lakshmi Ganapathy is an emerging journalist and theatre-maker based in Melbourne.

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