Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The 'C' word

There is sth. invigorating about that four lettered 'c' word. Capitalize it or italicize it or just plain mention it, it always packs a punch. If rightly done. But very few people do it justice. With all the sophistication rising, and this whole PC way of doing things, everyone is all about brewing the perfect cuppa in a kettle and using those sugar pots and oh please that is not chai - ah you thought we were going down THAT road? Nah - that may be very English but it's not a desi's cup of tea.

We don't go down exotic roads.
At least not mine. As much as I love to see good tea victuals, I hate being served in them. Now if I'm at a pretentious ladies' meet or in a Jane Austen movie I get it. But please not when I'm visiting your home.

Also, allow me to shed light on your tea set, yes, that fancy porcelain ware you own (and paid an arm and a leg for), it is useless! Yes they're expensive and pretty but they are thin. By the time you add the brew, stir in the milk and make sure the sugar is all blended in, your chai is at a temperature where you can slurp it down in one big gulp. Nothing beats a big, thick, rustic mug.
There are some folks who've made some effort in serving up the beverage who do a decent job of letting the tea leaves brew in the teapot. But there are these utterly lazy, ignorant women who who hand you a little strainer, and you put the tea leaves in the strainer and then add hot water letting the brew collect in your cup. What do I look like?? A geisha?? I'm a bloody guest, hand me a cup of hot, boiling, dunkable liquid. Please. I am not interested in elaborate tea ceremonies, Thank you.

And, I have to add this. You are the pits, if you make me use a spoonful of milk powder instead of a dash of milk in my chai. I hate milk powder, and I can only tolerate it, if I'm desperate and travelling and in a hotel with little sachets of creamer, sugar and tea bags.  Chai is the easiest thing to make. Boil a cup of water, add a tsp. of tea leaves, add your spice - cardomom, ginger, chai masala, cinnamon - and add sugar. Let it all brew and add a dash of milk, till you get the desired colour and strength of tea and strain the whole thing, like a good chaiwallah.

We have so many decisions to make each day, and everything is DIY from sand papering a wall to fixing a bike. How pleasant it is when someone just hands you a cup of potable brew. How comforting, how pampered one feels when one doesn't have to struggle with spoons, and strainers and luke warm water. It is a task of immense grace when someone brings in a tray of delightfully good chai with biscuits. Oh and bonus points for bringing in Parle G!

Yes Chai is distinct from tea, as distinct as Indian English is from  the Queen's language. They may have the same ingredients, but the flavour??? You tell me.

1 comment:

  1. Ha...I am so with you on this.My only request is no sugar and it should be piping hot. I can deal with variations in tea strength and milk.