Tea Story In Brewitty
Tea Story In Brewitty
As part of work I once visited a tea estate nestled amidst the Chola forests in the Nilgiris. After the official discussion got over a cup of tea the manager took me for a drive around the estate and brought me to a place that was once a prison where he said the first tea bush was grown in the south of India. The Chinese prisoners of the opium war had brought with them some tea seeds and they planted it here.
Tea, like the silk, was accidentally discovered by a Chinese emperor Shen Nong in 2737 B.C.E. While boiling water a leaf from an overhanging wild tea tree drifted into his pot. He liked the infusion and thus tea was discovered.
If you were to ask me coffee or tea, I would always say coffee, the filtered type, and not the instant variety. In a typical Chennai household of mine, the mornings always began with a cup of south Indian coffee. But it was all the way tea when I joined the hallowed portals of IIT at Kharagpur. Whenever friends met the time that was set usually was two for tea or three for tea depending on the numbers. Tea also came handy to quell the appetite before lunch when one consumed a cup of sweetened tea. For lunch was so boring and to go through the motion of eating, a cup of tea helped before the meal.
Our present PM took the tea to a different level when he talked of ‘chai pe charcha.’ There was plenty to discuss his sudden moves be it demonetization or COVID lockdown, which were done in a jest to prove his great leadership but the implementation almost failed to a T. Citizens especially the poorest were put into a lot of difficulties. Of course, the great leader that he was referred to the difficulty as a sacrifice befitting the overall benefits to the nation. What were the actual benefits that accrued to the nation is still being discussed over a cup of tea?
Taking about tea quality, there is a mind-boggling variety of teas: black tea, Darjeeling tea, orthodox tea, green tea, white tea, etc, oolong, orange pekoe, to mention a few. A lot depends on the way tea is prepared. In Kerala and Tamilnadu the tea decoction and milk are separately prepared and mixed together with sugar added separately to produce a cup of tea whereas in the northern states milk, water, and tea leaves are boiled together to make it tasty. Not to leave out the fact that tea can be almost measured in terms of length in the two southern states mentioned earlier by the way tea is tossed from one vessel to another. My Instagram name is onemeterchai which is a homage I pay to the tea vendors in Kerala and Tamilnadu.
In the north, match-fixing is always done over a cup of tea prefaced by snacks. Of course, I am referring to the bride and groom match-fixing not that of the cricket variety.
These days one is sickened by the vanity of Bollywood gang and the politicos, the loquacity of the TV journos; temerity of the citizens amid the COVID pandemic, the paucity of ethics in public life, lack of accountability in governance. I must share astonishing information that there are close to 4250 words ending with ty. Before you accuse me of lack of brevity, I must bring this musing to a close, with an assertion that I am T-positive.