Tag Archives: Tea Time

149: A Day In The Lives Of Most Of Us

29 May

I woke up very early for a Sunday. Given that I had to go in to work as well, it felt oddly fine to get out of bed before 7am; after all, there’d just be more time to do the things I’d wanted to do. Sunday mornings, according to me, ought to be spent savouring the best the weekend has to offer – it’s quiet, it’s peaceful, it’s pleasant, it’s the calm you need before the rush of yet another week begins. Therefore, in order for my Sunday to be perfect, it needs to be hearty in a subtle, non-overpowering way. For that, I have always imagined either sipping my tea whilst inhaling the aromas of a freshly baked cake rising in the oven or while digging into said warm cake as I have my tea. There’d also be the ambient sounds of chirping birds, the rustle of a newspaper, the crack of a biscuit or two (though they don’t really feature in this act when there’s cake around), minimal conversation, and perhaps the subtle seduction of a guitar playing in the background as well. I achieved some of this yesterday; except there wasn’t any cake fluffing up in the oven because I’d run out of baking powder and hadn’t bothered remembering to get a new bottle. I sought the company of my blog instead, when I still had tea to drink and was done with my papers.

Today was a different set-up. It did involve the appropriation of my Sunday morning fantasies, except, it looked and felt a little like this; something that may be all too familiar to you as well.

Please note that this is the dream I was trying to achieve – sipping on my cup of tea with A, while reading the newspaper in the ambience of chirping birds and the aroma of a cake.

I woke up and by default put on some water to boil for tea. In the meantime, I got the ingredients for my cake ready, and was just about to start on this process when; and I will use the now atrociously common phrase “but first let me…” (not take a selfie, but…)

…add milk to this boiling water for my tea.
…scoop this cream that’s collected on top of this bowl of milk and keep it aside.
…gather all the cream I’ve been collecting and make some ghee (clarified butter) out of it, since I already have the cream at hand.
…turn the tea off (it was done by then and was listlessly boiling away and becoming too strong for our liking)
…get the process of ghee-making started
…put my cake batter together
…oil my hair so I can let it rest while I have my tea, leaving me with enough time to wash it once tea is done.
…turn the tea back on (it had cooled down by now)
…wake A up, because I’ve become his alarm clock now.
…get our tea and biscuits on the table (the cake was in the oven)
…say hello to my plants which are now outside my house (as A opened the door to get the newspaper)
…read while I have my tea
…but wait, let me Instagram this perfect moment
…skim the ghee off the kadhai (wok)
…enjoy my tea-time. Babska, enjoy the present moment, always.

This is endless. This happens to each of us. This has become a regular feature of my life which, if given precedence over everything else, takes over my ability to do one thing at a time (is that necessarily a bad thing?!, you’d ask), or anything else that I might wish to do (like sleep, for example).

Some may call it the ants-in-my-pants syndrome; I just call it the this-domestication-gives-two-fucks-about-living-life-in-the-moment. Sigh.

Having said that, I did end up having my (still) hot tea with biscuits, as I instagrammed a photograph and then proceeded on to read, while enjoying the ambience of birds, the rustle of trees, the shuffle of the newspaper, and the smell of freshly baked cake and homemade ghee that was bubbling away, all in the company of A. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, and a great Monday today. :)

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40: Sacred

9 Feb


That’s what morning tea time with family is. ❤️

The Fuss About A Good Cup Of Tea Is…

18 May

that it’s presumptuously and unapologetically fussy.

Each of us tea lovers likes our cup of tea to be a certain way, and that itself makes it all the more elite, you know?

Tepidophobia, they call it. The fear of a badly made cup of tea – tepid, insipid, vanilla (adj.), bland, lacking in character, lack lustre, tasteless, frail…the possibilities of a bad cup of tea really do not even need to stray to more drastic disasters like split milk or salt mistaken for sugar. It’s just that easy to ruin a good cup of tea, especially when you really need that perfect cup of tea, isn’t it?

One of my worst tea disasters was at the chosen time when I was trying to show how well-versed I was in the art of making this good old evening bevvy for none other than my grandmother, who fate had decided, was to scald her memory with this horrific incident. And how wrong I was proven to be. Of course it had to be the sneaky traitor of a tea bag, which made the end result a bubbling mess of what looked too white, thick and distasteful to explain. It’s a gamble, and one that I lost so miserably to my aghast nani who lamented about the fact that her granddaughter had no kitchen skills whatsoever. After all, tea is one of those things a lot of us prides ourself in making…it’s that primary license to pass right through the golden and previously well guarded gates of a mother’s territory – her kitchen; a test that helps said mother and her supporting society to decide whether you need more time outside them or if you’ve sailed through with the flying colours one needs to see and feel in their cup of tea. It makes me laugh, actually. But the world has its way when it comes to these sort of scenarios, and is especially generous with its meanness when you’re in the spotlight of said kitchen matters or trying to showcase your skills and confidence particularly.

Needless to say, mine wasn’t very different. And many cups of tea later, I still haven’t really mastered it to perfection. Far from actually, especially given that I’m stuck at remembering just how the various members of my family and my friends like their bevvy, to begin with. My mom likes hers well-brewed, less milky and prefers to have hers warm than hot, while my brother likes the consistency of his brew to be that perfect balance of milk and water so that the end result doesn’t betray a paucity of milk in the house, nor ends up being a chai milk pudding. One aunt likes it milky, one likes it strong but not too straight up or selfish with milk. One doesn’t like ginger and someone else prefers a different brand of tea leaves altogether. Some don’t like any add-ons including sugar and some think I’m being selfish with the sugar and often come running back for an additional helping of sugah, accompanied with an accusatory eye if the victim is a brother (haha!). Some are forgiving of honey, some intolerant. A small group is okay with green tea while the others don’t consider green tea tea, you know? It’s always an art to give everyone this simple yet high-maintenance beverage, don’t you think?

And just like my family and friends, I’ve my own brouhaha about the entire affair – a storm in a teacup if I may say so. When it comes to dip tea, I cannot understand it being made with anything less than water that’s just about to reach boiling point and just a few drops of milk enough to make it look like tea, smell like tea and not end up becoming that milky fake tea drink we were fed as kids when one of us was ill. Once the brew has settled in completely and shaken hands with those few drops of milk, I like to rest it and drink it at a temperature that’s between mildly hot to very warm just so I can savour my drink. And I can never have mine without an accompaniment which is usually two Parle G biscuits or a slice of sponge cake when I’m feeling more indulgent. Besides, what I have it in, is paramount, especially when I’m at home. A beautiful mug, home to a refreshing cup of tasty tea which looks a certain way and which rarely arrives by itself, is a sure shot to happiness and complete satisfaction. It’s a one-sitting consumption affair which does not allow the thought of re-heating to even exist.

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I guess everything lovely calls for it to be fussy, unapologetic, as close to perfection as possible and royal in every way. Tea is poetry and poetry can be as snobbish as simple, if treated right.

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I wish we’d apply that to ourselves as well. Fabulous doesn’t need explaining or rules to be broken where it’s concerned, no?