Category Archives: Tea

Happiness

 

ON INTERNATIONAL HAPPINESS DAY (MARCH 20)

 

pexels-photo-904616.jpeg

 

Happiness is

A cup of tea

Getting lost in the pages of a book

Looking at the changing colors of the sky

October … arrival of autumn

Winter morning, evening, night … actually everything about the winter

Watering plants

Watching children play

Decluttering drawers, desks and wardrobes

An air/rail ticket in my handbag

Glowing table lamps, floor lamps

Colourful handmade notebooks (and saving them for that special occasion… middle-class upbringing)

Conversations with nieces, nephews… kids in general

Cooking meals from memory (as once cooked by my mother)

Rice, egg curry, cucumber-tomato-onion salad

Sitting in a quiet cafe and seeing life pass by

Getting lost in the wonderful world of textiles at Ahmedabad’s Rani no Hajira/ Gamthiwala/Gurjari, Boyanika in Bhubaneswar, Nalli in Hyderabad, Anokhi in Jaipur, Baroda Prints in Vadodara…

Browsing through Fab India and thinking what can be purchased without spending a fortune

Stories dancing in my mind

Mutton biryani

Deleting whatspp group messages without reading them

Never ever opening a ‘Good Morning’ message

Looking for pickles, soaps at Khadi Bhandars

Buying glass bangles at Charminar in Hyderabad (even though not wearing them regularly)

Running fingers through my mother’s saris

Dreaming of owning a cafe in the mountains

Travelling in AC Two Tier in Rajdhani Express

Poori-aloo ki sabzi for breakfast

Watching varied moods of Bay of Bengal

Full Moon Night

Listening to Elton John, Cat Stevens, Adele, Kishore Kumar

Momos, fruit beer at Dilli Haat

Reading Lonely Planet India and imagining 1000 trips in my mind

Vivek Express, Gatiman Express, Nilgiri Toy Train and Palace on Wheels — Imagining journeys in each one of them

Istanbul, the home I have never been to…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Love for all seasons

vietnam

This virtual home of mine has been lying neglected, untended. Blame it on an infection and subsequent fatigue I have been fighting hard against. But I have been thinking of my home quite often.

When the chips were down, I received a package from my friend who’s a wanderer. I call her ‘Tuk Tuk.’ In the last few months, she has been to Turkey, Greece and Vietnam. The package had this beautiful card from Vietnam, a packet of Lotus Tea and a Turkish tea coaster-cum-fridge magnet. The card lifted my spirits immediately, brought a huge smile on my face and the Lotus Tea gave me the warmth I so very needed. The Turkish beauty is the new charmer in my kitchen.

No matter how hard life is, love, kindness and thoughtfulness make the sailing little smooth. So, here’s a little note of love to the world. I know, I am late.. but here’s wishing a Happy 2018.

Let us just love. Just love. Without questions, theories, explanations or logic.

 

 

Chai romance

tea

Sit by my side,

Let the world run to the coffee shops,

For their share of  frothy cappuccino,

We will sit here,

In this dimly lit room,

On the Midnapore grass mat,

I bought from the Dastkar Nature Bazar,

We will slowly sip our chai,

Mine with sugar, yours without sugar,

We will talk politics, love jihad,

GST and the times we are living in.

You and I

With a cup of chai.

Tea

I love tea. I presume tea too loves me.

Tea slows me down. Tea makes me move forward. Tea gives me company. Tea makes me reflect.

Every morning, I drink tea in the same beautiful blue ceramic cup. It’s my own little tea ritual.

Sometimes when I am too sad, I stay away from tea. Sometimes, when I am too happy, I drink cups of tea. One after another.

Tea brings back memories of my loved ones.

teaSometimes when I visit people’s homes or offices, I lie about tea. I say, “I don’t drink tea.” The reason is I am very scared of having over-boiled, sweet, milky tea.

I love my first cup of tea at work. Not in a paper cup but in my own ceramic cup   At 11 am. It makes my day unfold.

I am in mood for a cup of tea. Right now.

This post is an expression of that longing.

Have a cup of chai/tea on my behalf. With love. .

Life in time of autocorrect

She was absent-minded. She was  balancing a fat samosa, a cup of sweet milky tea and a sleek smartphone. She was writing a message to a close friend from the coupe of the AC Two-tier compartment of Rajdhani Express.

She wanted to write: ‘I am going to …

Then the autocorrect popped up on her phone. She just clicked in a jiffy. The message went as ‘I am going to die.’

Actually, she wanted to write: ‘I am going to Delhi.’

He panicked. Called her back almost within 10 seconds.

They had a good laugh when they discovered the truth.

Aah. Autocorrect.

 

A romance called Indian Railways

Indian Railways

(This beautiful picture is from Flicker… (BY Ujjawal). This post celebrates 162 years of Indian Railways)

Last July, I was on a flight from Ahmedabad to Bengaluru on a budget airlines. I had ordered a cup of coffee to kill my boredom. Seeing me sipping the frothy coffee, my co-passenger (with whom I had not even shared a hello) asked me, “Why don’t you have a samosa which I am carrying with me?” I politely declined. But the immediate thought that came to mind was, “Oh, it seems like a scene straight from the Indian Railways.”

There’s always something alluring about Indian railways.Strangers become friends in a matter of few minutes. ‘Adjust, just adjust’ becomes the vocabulary. Adjust your luggage, adjust the passengers who are travelling without reservation. Life needs to be lived on an ‘adjust’ mode. Food like love becomes a bonding factor.’No’ for an answer when food being offered is not even entertained. Is everything about Indian railways so intimate, colourful, vibrant, full of life? The obvious answer is NO. But you know, life need not be an Oscar award winning movie. There’s beauty in imperfections too.

When Indian Railways turned 160 years, Google, the uber cool search engine paid a tribute to the Grand Old Lady of India by doing the doodle (well, pardon me for giving a gender to the railways) of a steam train curling around a palm-flanked setting. The world needs to celebrate this even when you are not a part of it.

I grew up in small town India with an awe-inspiring fascination for Indian Railways. My earliest memories of a train goes back to Konark Express (from Bhubaneswar to Secunderabad). As a child, I used to find it fascinating that the train’s name used to change to Minar Express even as it chugged along tracks from Secunderabad to Bombay (Changing names of cities was not politically fashionable then). As I saw in front of my little bewildered eyes, Konark Express becoming Minar in just a matter of few hours, I thought of having two names for myself. Years later, I created an e-mail id in another name just for the memory of a journey with beautiful memories.

Built by the British Empire in order to open up and facilitate commerce, and link the people of this vast country, the railways changed the lives of Indians, making travel much easier and connecting the north, south, east, west of this fascinating country. And in the last 160+ years, the railways have given a whole new meaning to the word ‘metamorphosis.’  If you have the money, you can savour a delicious slice of a royal life in the luxury laced ‘Palace on wheels’ and if you want to soak in the lingering beauty of the mountains and probably wanting to pick up some wild flowers, then hop on to a toy train in the Nilgiris.

On many occasions, when my mind draws blank, I turn to the Indian Railways for taking that  journey of fancy. On such a fancy flight, I found myself discovering the Vivek Express, from Dibrugarh to Kanyakumari which is the longest route on the Indian Railways network, in terms of distance and time, and the 9th longest in the world. Imagine 82hours 15m with a mind-blowing 56 halts. (Doesn’t it sound exciting?).

To travel in the trains in India is to experience a slice of life. Where else would  you experience the landscape changing colours probably every 200 kilometres, voices with hundred odd dialects and the delicious platter of India taking a roller coaster ride. From puri aloo at Kharagpur, oranges at Nagpur, guavas at Allahabad to mango jelly at Moghul Sarai, the variety is unbelievable and irresistible. A meal which is neither gourmet nor exclusive. Yet gives a sense of fulfillment and pure joy.

The times are changing. The budget airlines have taken over the travel itinerary of India’s vast number of middle class souls. The Indian Railways as per the government statistics is going through heavy losses. The mineral water bottles now have taken over the old world jugs which used to be filled at stations earlier. Yes, now people are hooked on to their mobiles. Listening to songs, playing games or just messaging even as the train chugs along in a languid fashion. But still then it’s yet to become as cold as a flight journey where it’s impolite to strike a personal conversation.

In the autumn of 2013, I took a train from Delhi to Ahmedabad in the Rajdhani express and I had refused dinner which was complimentary. In the morning when I made valiant efforts to climb down from my upper berth, my co-passenger asked me, “Why did not you eat your dinner last night? It’s not nice to skip your dinner.” For a moment, I basked in the glory of that warmth. I couldn’t help but think of a long harrowing flight journey I took (from Ahmedabad to Bhubaneswar) after my dad passed away. I didn’t touch a glass of water throughout the long flight and nobody really noticed it. I was alone in my grief even though I was sharing a middle seat in a row.

Strange as it might sound, for years I have nurtured this desire to travel across the country in an AC first class coupe (I have never travelled in one) with the man of my life. This is one romantic journey I have always held close to my heart. Even post budget airlines.

PS : The steam engines might be a thing of the past in the tomorrows to come. But I hope, as the train chugs along the lush green fields, swaying trees, little houses unfolding dreams within their four walls,  there will be a middle aged man reading a Hindi novel called ‘Maine maili ho gayi (I’ve become impure) and there will be always a smiling woman/man offering you some home-cooked food in a train compartment moving in a zig zag way and thereby bringing you smells of home. Even if home is far far away.