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09 November, 2022
Anybody who knows me, would know, I’m a huge tea aficionado. But no fancy herbal or light or healthy teas for me, please. I’ve successfully trashed two cartons of the much recommended and hugely popular Tetley lemon-honey green tea. No fault of theirs, for sure – just my love for the traditional brew that played exterminator. I’m a staunch loyalist of the strong, well-brewed, kadak adrak wali chai blended well with milk and sugar, in moderation though. So it has to be essentially a particular shade of rich sienna. Nothing but that.
Earlier, when I was teaching, I used to polish off several cups a day. Better sense prevailed after I quit work – now it’s limited to two cups daily. Okay, make that two mugs…two huge ones :)) in the morning and evening.
Call it my ego or my fetish – I cannot have tea prepared in any other way, by anybody else. So even when we travel as a family, I dutifully carry my own tea bags (tea bags, to save the hassle of straining etc) and have it in complete peace, without having to worry about the usual household chores. Milk powder and sugar come with the room, of course. (The Yardley or Twinings sachets that come alongside are too refined, too gentlemanly, way too light, for my taste!). No amount of fancy beverage – complimentary or otherwise – can make me change my stand. My folks order in their share, of course…after all, it’s a vacay!
Coffee, I can have at  any decent place. For me, it’s just an add-on – after breakfast or at the movies or the mall – with no feelings attached. But tea is an experience, an emotion, to be savoured at my own sweet pace.
So when I was packing for my ongoing Uttarakhand trip, I faithfully packed in my tea paraphernalia. And while I was doing that, I was thinking of my dear friend Sudha Ramnath and her Little Blue Cup (LBC) which accompanies her on all her travels. We see the world through her eyes (somehow the feminist in me is dead sure it’s a she!) and I’m a huge self-confessed fan of the LBC.  And at that moment, as if by epiphany, I remembered the blue mug I had received as a Teacher’s Day gift, a few years ago at work. It is insulated and comes with a tight lid that keeps the liquid inside, piping hot.  A deep sense of guilt swept over me as I looked at it, lying unused and sad, in the crockery cabinet. In a jiffy, I took it out, washed it, and voila, it looked spanking new and inviting! It even had my name and an apt one-liner embossed on it. It happily joined my tea kit in my already bursting-at-the-seams suitcase. When I was zipping it up, I could swear I saw it smile and wink at me, my Pretty Blue Mug(PBM)!
These past four days, my early mornings  feel a little more serene and beautiful as I relax in my quaint balcony, surrounded by the mighty Himalayas (more about that, later), sipping my favourite poison from my long-neglected-but-finally-redeemed PBM. The warmth of the tea seeps into my soul, pretty much like the warmth of the youngsters who had organised the gift.
Once again, I felt so proud of my profession, my students, and my erstwhile workplace.
#tealove  #teainthehills  #kadakchai  #gingertea

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