Some short and great stories have seen the light of the 'tube', if I may say so thanks to that cup of tea. It's amazing how much takes place over an innocuous beverage rated by the world as not so happening at least over it's elite cousin, coffee.
My dad would take 17cups a day until blood sugar problems seeped in. He would only place the command 'Tea,please' and mom, my sister or I would rush with his tumbler of 'phika cha', no milk and generous sugar. Those days, at least, I cribbed a lot at his tea fascination and I would threaten mom to get him that thermo-flask and keep 20 cups ready and waiting, with a jar of sugar and a packet of tea leaves, if possible tez pata( bay leaves),ginger and whatever.My dad would ask us to take up the art of having tea all the time, after every major meal also!! But one peculiarity, he never had tea anywhere outside, let it be my uncle's or his in-laws unless it is prepared by one of us!!Tea-stalls, restaurants, let's leave them :)
Mom has religiously enjoyed her cup of tea, flavored with a slice of lemon and a pinch of salt, at times with pepper and a twig of mint,and also, she experimented the sugar bit with honey,molasses and jaggery
I never learnt having tea, I found it horrid and often rated my jar of milk anyway, higher than that.So does my bro.
My sis is an off and on consumer of tea, not particularly faddish but does not mind a cup when the crowd is big and especially ,if she happens to prepare.
My office boy in my college is a wannabe, takes good care of his skin and constitution hoping to make it to some dance reality show.He earns a pittance but saves enough to learn professional dance three times a week and wears brand duplicates to look chic.I asked him to get a cup of tea for himself one day for an errand, he said,
"No mem!! I want to be fair..."
"Chai peene se, kaala hota hai."
"Ok, I didn't know that,ahan..."
I began my affair with tea recently when Dad was diagnosed with diabetes.I felt very bad about it especially when you know he was going to give up something he loved so much.His face kinda shrunk and he looked very helpless when the doctor told him he has to have it sugar-free!!How ruthless can you be!!I pleaded with the doctor if there was something that could be done, maybe Sugar free tea,maybe...
The doctor was ok-ok with the sugar-free idea, I gave in, I went and got a can of sugar free pills, Dad lit up and his affair with tea was revived, albeit under tremendous control and monitoring. But that charm was lost of having tea with natural sugar.I decided to be a part of that collective agony, decided to have tea and mourn.
I began having tea without sugar just to tell Dad that it's not all bad. He will not budge and refuses to comment.I had friends from the gardens who would go on and on about the this and that of tea.I used to be bored to death when they began their tea gupshup. Anyway, it was a trip down memory lane when I called them up and wished for an audience and they gave me the beginner's induction to tea by giving me a pound of garden fresh tea leaves, organic tea and green tea.I was thrilled at my treasure and thanks Dad, I am an avid fan of tea today.
The experts say tea should be brewed on moderate flame and never boiled.Stir and stir patiently. Tea should be tasted without sugar and milk, that's the actual flavor of tea.
Now, I take 7 cups of tea in a day, I love them, even if they are Tetley bags, who cares??