So coming to day 2 of the writing challenge. I am in a bit of a rush and also a bit unwell today so this post might seem a bit incoherent, but nevertheless! The whole point of a writing challenge is to write no matter what; so attempting the same 😛
The second item on my list of favourites is our good old everyday beverage – tea!! It’s a beverage that I will not refuse when offered, ever 😀 My everyday necessity, my comfort companion, my pacifier in times of sadness, and most importantly my remedy for a lot of illnesses. All this and much more – summarized in a single three lettered word – tea 🙂
My association with tea started off in childhood when asthma was a regular visitor in my life. My parents were advised to make me drink medicinal tea aka tea with ginger, tulsi, honey etc as a home remedy when I would get congestion of breath and clogging. I tasted tea as a medicine to begin with, and since then there has been no looking back! This medicine infused tea was a major relief in all my childhood asthma attacks, and led me to build a very loving relationship with it. Soon after, asthma was now in check, but tea became a permanent resident in my life!
Even at this very moment, as I type the word T-E-A, it brings a smile to my face. The slow boiled infusion of tea leaves, milk and sugar in water cooks up an aesthetically as well as gustatory pleasing experience known as tea drinking. Having had a lot of tea enthusiasts in my family, I was introduced to different kinds of tea as per each ones preference. My grandfather loved the English style of light tea with a mild infused flavor of tea leaves and very less milk in it. While my brother loves the really strong flavoured tea that has a sumptuous amount of spices (chai masala) with tea leaves. My father on the other hand, has been a frequent traveler to Japan, China and Korea – and likes green tea from different sources. Me? I just love tea of all sorts!! 😛 I love a slightly mild tea as a regular everyday drink. But on special days, or on winter days, I like green tea with different flavours. And when it is pouring cats and dogs in the monsoons, I relish tea with a really strong flavor of boiled leaves, lots of ginger and lots of spices! I love to sit with my hands wrapped around a warm tea cup. This beverage is my companion, my confidante, my friend and my everyday necessity now 🙂
Years later, I got married into a family where tea is exactly as much a necessity in all days and events as I like. And needless to say, some of the best bonding times that I can remember while being new in this family were all centered around tea time!
To me, tea making is like an art. It is a ritual. It is an investment. It is not something that you do ‘in the background while doing other things’. No. It deserves that bit of time to get its proportions correct. To get the aroma in place. And to get the maximum of the tea experience.
I cannot yet remember an occasion when tea has not been a companion. It has been so in good and bad times alike.
Feeling unwell – Have a cup of tea
Feeling rejoiced – Celebrate with a cup of tea
Angry? Had a fight? – Calm yourself with a cup of tea
An experiment gone topsy turvy in the lab? – Just forget it over a cup of tea
Having friends or cousins over? – Make tea
Alone at home today? – Again make tea!!
Important work discussion – Over tea!
Chat about personal life – Again over tea!!
A stop in any journey – Calls for a tea break!
The completion of a task / journey – Have tea!!
I have honestly lost track of the number of events that tea has witnessed with me. Probably every event of my life – everyday and every special day 🙂
I must confess here, though, that honestly I also love the beverage cousin of tea – which is coffee, to a comparable extent. But the relationship I share with coffee is a bit different. Coffee is a drink for special occasions, for special conversations. It is not something that contributes to my ‘everyday’. It is like the stilettos you will wear for a party, while tea is your everyday no-heels chappal which carries you to all places during the day. So while coffee is special and beautiful; tea is ordinary everyday comfort and so maybe ahead of coffee by a small margin in my life 🙂
To sign off, I think a very unique contribution of tea would be worth a mention. Having had this background of a nearly inseparable love and affection for tea, my dream date while learning to dream about love – was of having a cup of hot chai in the cold rain. Now imagine my dismay when I fell in love with the man of my dreams a few years ago only to find out that he absolutely dislikes tea!!!! All my dreams about sharing moments over tea, romantic conversations over tea were not happening and seemed far from reality. And as we started with discovering a contrasting opinion about tea, we went on to realize a contrast in preferences and opinions about almost everything under the sun! Now, to be honest, I was initially sad about this fact. But subsequently I got over this and realized that the difference in choice over tea was actually conveying a larger message to me. And that was of letting a person be, loving and accepting him/her for what they really are and accommodating habits that may be way contrasting to mine. In a way, I learnt this through tea, and I am grateful to it for the same.
And now the end result? The best tea I have had is the one that my husband makes for me 🙂 Even though he doesn’t have it himself! Customized, with the exact proportions of ingredients and just the way I need it. Tea forms one of the ways for him to express his care, love and understanding. And being someone who is hardly expressive through words, I love this form of expression that he has, through the perfect cup of tea – made at the perfect time for me 🙂
I cannot thank tea enough for this very very unique contribution to our relationship 🙂