For as long as I can remember, Amma and Appa had a routine when it came to the consumption of tea and coffee in our household.
They would have coffee bright and early in the morning, which for them was 3 am. After tackling breakfast and lunch preparations for the huge family that we were, it would be time for a masala tea.
Afternoon tea was almost like a ritual, to be timed to the hour. 3 pm to this day remains tea time at home.
Appa bought our tea from Hasmukhrai and Co. He picked up a blend of Mamri and Orange Pekoe teas in a certain proportion. To this day I cannot drink tea without masala because of the absolutely amazing and fragrant masala that Amma hand-pounded at home.
The masala had whole dried ginger, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon and cloves all sun dried and pounded into an aromatic powder that took the tea to a new level.
For all the efforts that went into procuring and readying the ingredients for a perfect tea, the most amusing thing for me was the amount of tea we drank.
We drank tea in the South Indian tumbler which holds 250 ml of liquid typically. And we filled less than half of this tumbler with tea! It was barely four sips of tea but it was absolutely lipsmackingly memorable.
Later in life I grew to drink cupfuls of tea as opposed to the tiny sips of heaven that we were served at home. Whenever I visited home I found the quantity of tea a little frustrating and Amma started making a whole tumbler of tea for me whenever I visited. Her ways of responding to your unhappiness were subtle, but her response said it all. Appa would grumble at the huge amounts of tea I was consuming. But I was happy!
This year, coronavirus has infected us with many things. Apart from the disease itself, we also seem to be infected with the need to celebrate every small milestone which until date I hadn’t even heard of.
That’s how I came to be aware of International Day of Tea which was celebrated yesterday. Immediately this fond memory of tea in my house came to mind.
I’m sure all of us have some or the other memory of tea time. Be it the tea itself, or the snacks, or the preparation that went into stocking the perfect ingredients for the perfect tea!
I invite everyone to delve into your memories and experience that moment with your loved ones all over again.
Just as I am right now, back to being a teenager and enjoying those few sips of perfectly flavoured tea with my parents, looking out of our home into a rainy day that is made even more memorable with that tumbler of tea in my hand.
In a few sips, it will be gone. Maybe that’s why Appa made it so. To ensure we got small but powerful doses of happiness every single day.
Pic Courtesy : My Bombay Kitchen by my dear friend and super cook Chetana!