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Sohrab Khandelwal

Abstract Inspirational


Sohrab Khandelwal

Abstract Inspirational

The Tea Cup Story

The Tea Cup Story

4 mins 376 4 mins 376

It was one of those rainy seasons in Mumbai when the rain just kept pouring relentlessly. And it had rained so much that it felt it had been raining 48 hours a day. These rains had made everything damp. There was fungus growing in corners of the house which I didn’t know exist. And all these little spores growing led to a terrible cold. The sinuses were blocked and there was a little respite. So I did what any Indian would do at that moment, I made myself a hot cup of masala chai. I added all the spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and everything else that is included in the grandmother's recipe. The tea smelled good and I sat down by the window in the drawing room. I sat down on the couch watching the raindrops fall one by one as they followed a fixed trail of path along the railings, falling into the money plant that looked fresh and green. I have a good view of the sea from the window, requiring only imagination to be able to see its vastness. I was holding the hot tea cup by the handle. I took a whiff of the tea and heaved an involuntary sigh of relief. Aah! It had a good fragrance.

Just as I was about to take the first sip, I heard a voice ‘this is for you’. I stopped midway to look around, but since there was nobody home I presumed it must be coming from somewhere outside. I quickly took my first sip, and a smile formed on my face that comes with the satisfaction of a well made tea.

I again heard the voice, a little louder this time this is for you”. To my utter astonishment, I realised it was the teacup talking to me. I was shocked, stupefied, stunned, surprised that an inanimate object was speaking to me. There was pin-drop silence and then it occurred to me that what the teacup was saying was true. The tea was for me and how selflessly the teacup was holding onto something which was of no use to it. At that moment I realised if a tea cup can be so selfless, then how selfless we human beings can be. And with this understanding, a wave of gratitude filled every little cell in my body and my breath uttered a silent thank you. The tea became more tasty and our conversation kept flowing.

“Do you know all the glasses tease me?”, again the tea cup spoke lamenting.

“Why do they tease you? ”, I asked curiously.

“They call me asymmetrical asymmetrical”, said the Teacup looking down.

And I saw that there was a little handle— Voila! my finger slips right through it and I can have tea without hurting my fingers. And then it occurred to me, that perhaps we too can grow a little handle around ourselves, so that if I may say, others can handle us more easily. And whatever we have to offer, can be taken by them without them getting hurt.

The tea was getting tastier by the minute and more gratitude was filling me.

“Do you think I’m boring?”, the teacup asked me inquisitively.

“Why would I think you are boring?”, I replied quite curious myself, as to what it had to say.

“No, because I have these sober rounded edges”, said the teacup shyly.

“But what did you want?”, I asked.

“Well, I wanted something like mountains and valleys, sharp and punk style. But it would have hurt your lips and I couldn’t allow that”, said the teacup quite affectionately.

And at that moment I was at a loss of words. As I remembered all those moments where I was trying to be helpful to people but my words were harsh and my efforts forceful and I only ended up hurting them. Perhaps we too could learn to sober off those rough boisterous edges. Maybe come across as boring but only if we could listen to people and put their hurt ahead of our need to help. With this great wisdom and understanding, I gulped the last of the tea, relishing every last drop of it.

My heart filled with gratitude but my sinuses still a bit blocked. I brought the empty teacup which was still warm, to my face and it felt good. Slowly the sinuses started opening up and my breath came in clear and uninterrupted. It felt good. Along with this clear breath dawned on me a clarity. The tea cup was empty yet it was still offering me something, it was offering me warmth. And I thought to myself, how there come so many times in our lives when we humans feel that we are empty and we have nothing to offer. But only if could remember in those moments that if an empty tea cup can give you warmth. We are human beings and one just has to imagine the possibilities that we can offer.

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