Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tea and Me

(I know the title is grammatically wrong…please don’t tell me that…the construction has been used for lyrical purposes. So there!)

India’s population drinks 23% of the world's tea! It is staple food for most Indians; they can do without food but not without tea! Withdrawal symptoms at not getting the timely cuppa for more than 20 minutes later include headache, irritability, anxiety and of course drowsiness…tea is what keeps Indians awake…tea is what keeps Indians alive…

My association with tea goes back to when we were school kids – my sister and I (now that is correct grammar!). My parents were brought up in Madhya Pradesh for most part and it showed in their habits – they were more of MP residents than South Indians with a flawless pronunciation of Hindi, a dire need to eat Chapatis everyday (South Indians please note – these Chapatis are what is known as Phulka in South India…not plain Parathas made in oil) and consumption of tea almost thrice a day. So the automatic choice for our evening snack when it was Mom’s teatime was Chai-Roti. I have to agree it tasted very good but we had so much of it that I developed aversion to it. You see, Ati Sarvatra Varjyate

Even after this (long) stint with Chai-Roti was over, I used to have tea off and on in the evenings. I never cared too much about tea…I like coffee better (I guess it’s the South Indian genes). Yet, sometimes custom, ritual at others and plain formality when visiting family friends kept me in touch with the taste of tea. And no my parents did not consider it a criminal offence for children to consume tea or coffee (I am so thankful to them for that…these days we get by with just about whatever is available).

Towards the fag end of schooling when I started to sit up late at nights to study, it was the preferred stimulant I turned to – coffee. And I was deeply disappointed; my system seemed to have become used to the potion and I started to sleep more soundly after drinking coffee in the night. I still don’t understand why coffee does not work on my nerves but that is the sad truth of my life. It ended up becoming more of a recreational beverage while I took refuge with…what else…tea!

And so my present relationship with tea began. All through junior college and Engineering, tea has salvaged my nights from bring sacrificed at the altar of sleep. I would give quite a bit of credit to this concoction for all the scores I netted during college. It became a daily ritual to prepare a cup of steaming tea at 11 in the night and start off with my academic endeavours. I still wouldn’t say that I like the taste much better than coffee’s, yet it was a ritual. I just had to have tea at that hour…well, on most days.

Now I am familiar with more than one way of preparing tea: one with so much milk that it almost tastes like flavoured milk – the kind they love in MP, one with such less milk that it could have fared better being black – the result of economy practiced in Maharashtra, Black Lemon Tea – a life-saver in times of Diarrhoea, and more. And I more or less get by with any of them. I have to confess, by now I may have developed a liking for this beverage also.

I have had tea in fine bone china cups and saucers, in the ubiquitous yet charming-in-their-own-way transparent glasses, in the oh-so-rustic Kulhads in West Bengal and lately in the touted-to-be-hygienic, disposable and disgustingly cardboard-flavoured Styrofoam cups…and I have to say, it is an immensely enjoyable beverage with health benefits to license the consumption.

On a rainy day when a plateful of hot onion-pakoras is served along with piping hot tea and family to share it all with…one feels thankful to even be alive.

Tea Board of India is right…Chai Piyo Mast Jiyo!

Now that the post is done…I am headed for my regular cuppa! Ciao…

11 Thinkers Pondered:

Vinni said...

thats everything in the known universe of tea for you! lol!

ShAkE Inc. said...

gulp. gulp. gulp. damn...it is rejuvenating!!!

Anupama Kondayya said...

Hey Vinni,

I have to say this post was partly inspired by your consumption of 4 consecutive cups way back then...remember? Thanks for the comment

Hey Shake Inc,

You bet it is rejuvenating...do I see another Tea Fan there? Thanks for the comment...

ShAkE Inc. said...

affirmative ;-)

ShAkE Inc. said...

I couldn't agree more. A definitive yes.

And there you go...adding the razzle-dazzle to my blog roll. Well, you think...and so you made it!!!

\,,/, Rokk the blogosphere!

ShAkE Inc. said...

Maybe..even you can guestblog on my space some day. Eagerly looking forward to it :-)
What can be better that putting all the enterprising writers under one roof? And the outcome? Nothing but, captivating insights and riveting thoughts.
Speak of 'diversity bloggofied'!

RADhika said...

Hey Anupama, great work..
i must say, while reading this pots, i had an urge to make a cup of tea and enjoy with this post.. :))

Cheers all the Tea lovers...!!! :))

Anupama Kondayya said...

Hey Shake Inc,

Thanks so much for the honour :)...you're on my roster too!

Hey Radhika!

Winter is settling in on Bangalore...come over...let's have some hot tea :) Thanks for the comment!

Sandy said...

Nice... ah.. Chai... so much more than just a drink... it works so hard across country... bringing people together... giving hope.... cementing dreams... reliving memories...

so much of our life revolves around that simple line.."chalo, chai ho jaaye" :-))

Sandeep

Anupama Kondayya said...

Hey Sandeep,

Thanks for the comment...it is so true...we are just looking fo reasons to have Chai at times...any excuse does fine...anyway, iss baat pe...Chalo, Chai Ho Jaaye :)

Sowmya said...

I had tea for one whole month in the Himalayas... I loved it... I am not addicted to it... when in the plains, I dont have chai or coffee... but it tasted so good in the mountains... they would add herbs of all kinds... If you ever go to Bhojbasa via Gangotri, drink tea in Lal Baba's ashram...it is 3800 meters above sea level.. :)