Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Storm over a tea cup (how I can never be a tea totaler)

Here I am, creating a storm, no, no, a tsunami 'over' a tea cup, giving the proverb a quirky twist. Why not! Like today, for me missing my afternoon tea caused nothing short of a storm of sorts 'over' a tea cup, my 'forced' abstention from that healthy addiction. How can I describe that tea-deprived state of mind - when suddenly the mind goes blank, slowing down my reflexes, creating a drowsy feeling, craving for that missed cup... and important tasks that demand my complete attention and participation...before I get recharged for the rest of the week. In fact, missing my afternoon tea also triggers the dreadful migraine that I'm susceptible to.

If I were Keats or Shelley I would have definitely written an ode on this elixir of life. The wonderful leaves from the shrub Camellia Sinesis - tea has a story to tell in most of our lives. Sadly, the action between the cup, the lip and the sip is such a routine that we often forget to appreciate the magic of this 'mundane ritual'. The very thought of it arouses a fresh and active feeling that stimulates and energizes to catch up with life and the daily chores.

Many tea lovers and connoisseurs believe that preparing a good cup of tea is not everybody's cup of tea! Mainly because the taste of tea is so such a personal thing. Some like it with more milk and sugar, some others hate to see milk in their tea. The hardcore tea lovers like me, vouch for the taste of long leaves and light decoction unlike the extract prepared from popular CTC packs available all over the shops. There's the other type who like it in its Irani avatar served in most of the local cafes in Hyderabad.

For most of us, office-goers, tea breaks give us the much needed break to enjoy the fresh air outside the AC cubicles, with a hot cup, catching up with all the gossip. It's also the time for the dip-dip tea bags and conversations around the vending machines.

Yes, tea is something personal. Coming from a family of tea-lovers it's hard for me to accept anything that goes in the name of tea, especially the boiled and brewed sugary 'tea' that sticks to your tongue, leaving an unsavoury taste of milk and sugar, successfully wiping out the color, flavor and aroma. How can I not be  fussy or finicky about it. The magic of tea lies is in the quality of leaves and the way the decoction is prepared...in a kettle? Using tea bag? I like it best when I prepare it myself. Sometimes, my recipe includes a piece of ginger crushed and added to the boiling water when I need that extra kick to wake me up properly after deep sleep and feel charged-up, especially on a rainy day or cold winter mornings. In summers, cold tea is okay with a squeeze of lemon and  a dash of mint for added freshness. Green tea is the in thing, the new mantra for anti-oxidants and a craze among fitness freaks. Any supermarket gives you dozens of brands, organic variants, with all kinds of flavours mint, lemon, ginger, chamomile, jasmine, tulasi, masala, cardamom and what not.

But believe me, tea tastes best when it's enjoyed in its pure form - black or green- without any added flavors, savoured without any accompaniments like cookies, biscuits and pakodas, if possible while listening to this composition from Dr. Bhupen Hazarika from the land of tea...the songs goes: Ek kali do pattiyan, nazuk nazuk ungliyan, tod rahi hai...here it is.

1 comment:

Videhi Visali said...

am refreshed and recharged after reading this emphatic blogspot!