Chai has always been an eternal part of my life. Always. I can’t remember a time when we ever denied having chai. I got scared a while ago when I thought I had reached the saturation point of having tea! Thankfully, it was just that – a scare.
Over a period of 27 years of my life, I have come to know tea in ways old and new. I can relate chai to so many things in life. My mom hails from Madhya Pradesh where the day does not begin without a cup of tea. I was introduced to tea not just as a beverage but something that refreshes you. After a day’s work, mom and dad would sit down to have some tea to probably come out of the work day. When we all would clean the house together, there would be innumerable chai sessions in between to keep us going. Come winters and we would just look for an excuse to have tea in those chilly Nagpur winters. To quote my mom, “Hamare ghar pe to chai ka bartan gas pe chadha hi rehta hai!” (We drink so much tea that there is always a vessel on the stove ready to brew some!) While others would resort to cool fruit juices during Nagpur summers, we would drink tea believing in the proverb – heat minimizes heat (loha lohe ko kaat-ta hai)!
One of the reasons me and my sister look forward to train journeys is because of the tea that keeps coming every five minutes! Train journeys, road trips, bus travels are incomplete without stops for this beverage. Travelling and tasting roadside chai also meant finding out which city’s tea is a must try! Tea hopping of its own. And by far, Jodhpur’s chai is the best on my list!
Weekends in Bangalore were not weekends until me and my sister had n number of tea. We would find excuses to drink chai and also for who would brew it… Office was nothing without tea. Most of our ideas would have to be discussed over that and not in conference rooms. Thankfully I have friends who adore tea as much as I do. And also some who love ‘Parle-G’ with chai! Have you tried it? You must.
My sister’s in-laws would always prefer filter coffee – till they got to know us! And I was only delighted when they absolutely loved the way I brewed tea. Can you believe that they have only tea when I am around? It’s such a great feeling to be appreciated for something so small, yet so important.
But to the disappointment of me and my sister, our respective husbands do not prefer tea at all!! I still sarcastically ask my mom how she could get us married to boys who do not love chai (but in my head I am seriously thinking why she didn’t consider that :P). It was only joyous for me and my sister when I visited her recently – we could have all the amount of tea we want. You would wonder why? Because tea, for that matter even coffee, is only enjoyed when somebody is besides you to share it. I still have a hard time if my mom-in-law is not around me while I am having tea; even if she’s not drinking it.
There’s a routine that came into existence on its own – I can never have tea in a rush. It always has to be with some good time on my hand so that I can soak into its goodness. I get irritated if I have to drink it in a rush and I even avoid having it if I can at such a time! That brew is so special everyday… It is one of the things I look forward to during the day. Chai makes it special.
There are so many memories filled in that one cup of chai. If you ask me, the glass is always full for this one!