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Tea, where would I be without you?

“Kaka… chai kaisi hai” (How is the tea)? that’s my standard question to him. And his standard answer is “Chai garam hai.” (The tea is hot). And once in three months or so, he tells me authoritatively, “Pee ko jaano. Do cup rakhta hoon.” (Just drink it, you will know. I am keeping two cups”). Kaka is the person who works in our canteen and I presume he’s my best friend (cause when I come back from my holidays, he’s the only one who asks me ‘kahan gaye the… bahut din ho gaya’ (where did you go? long time… with a smile).
Even though I never drink tea with milk at home, my day at work is incomplete without Kaka’s tea at 11 O’ clock and 4 O clock. Without Kaka’s tea, I feel like a restless new bride who goes through pangs of separation when her husband goes out of her sight. And in between 11.30-12.30, on most days I call up the canteen to send another cup of tea only through Kaka.
Tea or chai is my lifeline. For me, the world’s all well if I am having my cup of tea. When I am sad, I can never drink a cup of tea. When I had my first break-up (now when I think of him, I cringe at my then ‘juvenile’ taste in men…. I presume I have got better taste now, or is it so that they are all the same (frankly speaking, I am as confused as the UPA government) eons ago, for two days I couldn’t drink my tea. On the third day better sense prevailed over me and the tea cup made a come back in my life. I have grown up since those college days in Orissa and thankfully I lived to experience intense relationships.     Yet even now when I am sad/depressed, I just can’t bring myself to drink a cup of tea. For me, tea symbolises everything happy, relaxed and most importantly a sense of intimacy. A cup of tea for me is like a flowing river. There’s nothing small or stagnant about it. Even though it comes in a tiny cup or a kullad, for me it gives an innate sense of life and joy. It reminds me of home, JNU, of innumerable journeys in the Indian Railways. It brings back memories of my parents sharing a cup of tea early in the morning and all my sisters enjoying a cup of tea huddled together on the bed and taking pot-shots at the world. The tea needless to say always tastes nice with a bit of gossip.
Every time I think the universe is not treating me like her favourite child, I call up my soul sister in town. On most occasions, we meet at a popular coffee shop and instead of the much-in demand Cappuccino, we order Darjeeling tea. Over cups of tea and conversations, I feel a sense of tranquility. The world seems a better place to live with a brewing cup of tea in my hand. And I embrace laughter with much ease. Sitting in a coffee shop that has become a part of urban landscape in India and ordering a cup of tea also gives me a feeling that you can love tea, or hate tea but you just can’t ignore tea. Not even in a coffee shop. But I would be a happy woman if hotels across India decide not to keep those horrible teabags (I am not taking the brand name but people will understand which one I am referring to) in their rooms. My younger sister who hardly agrees with me on any issue definitely agrees with me on this. So, I presume I am making some sense on this.
Tea is like a lover who is delicate, caring and understands your moods. Tea gives a sublime joy. Tea is like a soft Jaipur rezai which gives the much needed warmth on a winter morning yet it is soft on your skin.
Coffee (well, a lot is actually now happening over coffee now)— I feel is like a boss who will always make you work towards a deadline, a teacher who will make you write your term paper even if you are not in a mood. Or a husband who will fulfill all his responsibilities without ever running his fingers through your entangled hair. I can already sense coffee-lovers aiming their guns at me. Right now, I am waiting for Kaka to come to my desk with his ‘garam’ chai.
Tea, where would I be without you?


About Deepika Sahu

I earn my living through writing stories, editing what other people write (in simple terms I am a journalist). I dream of opening a cafeteria in the mountains, owning a beach home on the shores of Bay of Bengal... but right now, they all seem like wild dreams.. A gypsy at heart --- am passionate about life, music, words, cooking for people I love, soaking in the lashing rain and just looking at the changing colours of the sky.... And I am a great fan of the Indian Railways and I long to travel in First Class AC coupe across India.....with my man

3 responses to “Tea, where would I be without you?

  1. Nice story on Tea, Loved reading it 🙂

  2. Perfect, wonderfully captures a myriad of emotions and episodes which practically everyone could relate to .

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