Tea Tale – (Part I)

I was not raised drinking tea. We siblings grew up in a family of ‘bachchey chai nahin peetey’; however, that couldn’t prevent us from growing up into ‘tea lover’ adults.
If I talk about me, I really didn’t even realise when suddenly I started having tea and fell in love…I mean with the tea 😉.

Ahhhaann…I remember.
The late winter evenings when every other day I was stuck in the unbelievable traffic Jam in Old Delhi 😨 while coming back from the University and my students for whom I used to give Science tuition had already been there waiting for me, it was then I actually realised how refreshing a cup of tea could be. Sipping the hot tea while the students used to write answers for the short test from the previous lesson I used to give them at the beginning of every new session, used to be an ultimate relaxation from head to toe 😇.

❤️ However, it’s not the reason why I love my tea today . That’s something else 💁‍♀️.

It’s not that tea is good just to drink. I love making it too. When the tea in ‘bhagona’ is brewing, it is a feast for eyes to look at the leaves swirling in the hot water, dancing around while they brew and at the different colors that come out when the tea liquors depending on its strength and a feast for all your senses is to smell the aroma they spread.

In my home, two of my cousins used to be chain-smokers…. ooops 🤦‍♀️…. I mean chain-drinkers…and they used to have very strong tea…I didnt’t know if it was their influence on me that I learnt it that way… and both of them used to love that. My cup of tea used to be very strong (before marriage). Those who love it extra strong simply loved my tea, I remember two people especially among my relatives who used to sing praises of my tea always and, both of them have passed away… (Not because of my tea 🤷‍♀️, they just passed away). However, the funniest compliment ever for my tea came from the family of a prospective ‘doolha’ when they came to visit my family to diagnose me…Ooops🤦‍♀️…to investigate me…Ooops again🤦‍♀️…I mean ‘to meet me’.

“Hamein Chai pasand hai” ….
Oh! I am so blushing to say that they meant “Hamein ladki pasand hai” 😌.
Seriously. Believe it or not. They agreed to marry their boy for the ‘tea’ of ‘their’ choice not with the ‘girl’ of ‘his’ choice. Well, my family didn’t like the proposal and spared me from brewing the tea for the rest of my life 😛(Alhamdulillaah).

Long story short. I love making tea and others love that too.
❤️ However, it’s not the reason why I love my tea today . That’s something else 💁‍♀️.

You know what used to be very funny about the ‘tea’ in our home was that there used to be a special tea set in our home that my Mom used to keep some ‘extra safe’ in the upper shelf of the kitchen. It was not for every chacha, mamu, khala or aunty visiting our home. It was exclusive for some ‘special’ guests, that I learnt hard way who were those ‘special’ guests and even a harder way what was so ‘special’ in them, for whom Ammi used to say “Chai bana lo…aur cups oopar se nikaal lena.” 🙄

So many tea moments spinning in my head this moment…and ‘chai’ ‘chai’ is ringing in my ears giving me nostalgia of the rail-journeys with family to my hometown, the cries of “chai, chai,” from tea sellers carrying kettles along trains and platforms are still so vivid in my memory.

Aaah! There are so many interesting Chai-Tales with me from my childhood.
❤️However, it’s not the reason why I love my tea today . That’s something else 💁‍♀️.

There is also a cultural component to tea. In my hometown people drink tea like anything, they drink it for every reason and for no reason. The saying ‘better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one’ might fit on every tea lover; however, for the uncle-aunties there in my town it is ‘better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one hour’. Moreover, when you visit somebody over there, you just can’t refuse ‘chai’. It’s just not done 😦. Bear in mind that even a polite refusal might be an insult. So just have T.

It is a mindset, a philosophy, a way of life there, they call it their legacy; however, little do they realise that it is heavily steeped in interesting traditions and cultures from around the world. I was amazed to know that tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, after water. Yes…On a side note here, ‘chai’ in India is entrenched in the culture and flows through its veins; however, it’s a legacy of British 😀.

So, Yes. The cultural component to tea is very vast and very interesting; and, I am a person who simply loves to know about the perspectives from different cultures.

❤️ However, it’s not the reason why I love my tea today . That’s something else 💁‍♀️.

To be continued…
Stay Tuned 😁
Maa Salaama

Sisterly Yours 🌹
The Might of Pen 😊

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