Warning: If you are a connoisseur of teas I strongly caution you against reading this post.
‘A cup of tea’ by Mayank Chhaya
Writer Alexander McCall Smith sees tea as an emblem of a refined culture.The ways he tells it in the Guardian one nearly experiences the aroma of a fine tea waft out of one’s laptop screen.
To me tea is just a utility drink. One drinks it more like the way one would scratch away an itch than to actually relish it. Come to think of it when you scratch a particularly strong itch, it can be delightful. Around 5 in the morning I draw water from the kitchen faucet in a cup, put two spoonfuls of sugar in it, and drown two tea bags with the ferocity of a Guantanamo guard waterboarding a terror suspect. Quite like the detainee it offers nothing of a lasting value.
As the traumatized cup comes out of the microwave oven after two minutes and fifteen seconds, one adds milk to turn the dark brew into a beige beverage. One stirs it for a few seconds causing several eddies in that narrow space. I do occasionally see boats bobbing up and down in those currents. A couple of minutes later all that remains of this “fine” drink is a dark brown sludge of sugar and milk fat on the inside edge of the cup. The rest has gone inside my stomach to be converted into acid that kicks up throughout the day.
The worst part of drinking tea is the aftertaste. For the past three and a half decades the aftertaste has made me wonder why I drink tea. It is perhaps because the act of waking up and making a cup of tea is a routine that anchors the rest of one’s day. It also keeps one rooted in the sheer banality of life.