Storm in a chai glass: Bill Gates video with Nagpur street vendor goes viral

A billionaire innovator and a tea seller with a big personality — and social media presence — have just met in the Indian city of Nagpur, and the result is a viral video like no other.

Dolly Chaiwala with Bill Gates
Nagpur vendor and digital creator Dolly Chaiwala with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Screenshot courtesy: Instagram/thisisbillgates

“One chai, please,” says Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, smiling and holding up a finger. Immediately, Dolly Chaiwala gets to work, turning the simple act of brewing tea into a performing art.

He pours the milk, adds the masala, drops the tea leaves into the boiling milk, and picks up a slim glass with the aplomb of a celebrity chef.

Gates’ smiling and admiring presence, the Nagpur street vendor’s style, and the stunning mastery of video-making lend his chai cart a distinctive glamour.

Captions on the video inform viewers that Gates is “excited” to be back in India, a country of “incredible innovators”, and that he looks forward to more “chai pe charcha (chats over tea)”.

Sharing this video on his Instagram page (thisisbillgates), the billionaire philanthropist has written: “In India, you can find innovation everywhere you turn — even in the preparation of a simple cup of tea!”

Dolly Chaiwala is not just any tea seller; his Instagram bio describes him as a “digital creator”. That description is validated by his flair-infused tea-making videos; they often have chart-toppers as background music and Dolly directly addressing his 10.4K Instagram followers.

Bara aadmi banne ka sapna maine bhi dekha hai (I, too, have dreamt of becoming someone big),” he says in one of his videos. Now, having served up a glass of tea to Bill Gates — one of the biggest someones in the world — his cart, named “Dolly Ki Tapri Nagpur”, looks set to go places.