One of the privileges of living with the family (read mother) is you never have to make tea for yourself. You always get it served in a cup along with a quarter plate of bhujia after you retire for the day.
A glass of milk changed to a cup of tea when I started my graduation. I remember one day when my mother was making tea for herself in the evening and offered me half of an already half cup. I wasn’t very fond of tea till then, but there was something so enticing about the tea aroma that day that I greedily drank it. My mother’s hands smelled of detergent powder and fingertips crinkled with water. The tea was her share of warmth after drying out a bucket full of clothes in the sun. But I had it instead, claiming to my ego self that she can make it again anytime for herself.
The tea was strong, with very less sugar and just the perfect amount of tea leaves. I felt purged. That day, I realized that tea has a substance and essence. And most importantly, it has a soul.
My rendezvous with tapri tea started soon and I developed a love for tea that would surpass love of all kinds. Tapri-side tea is usually milky and over-sweetened. I preferred strong tea, but that’s the thing with tea – once you fell in love with tea, it never disowns you. Milky, over-sweetened or less sugar, over-boiled or less, adrak-elaichi flavored or a basic tea, once it seeps in your mouth, it makes you its own and tell you stories. The kind of tea my college tapri-wala made always smelled of the struggles he went through to get his daughter admitted to a good school. The taste of tea my mother makes is always tired. The tea my husband makes is so full of love.
Today I wonder, why my tea tastes so recluse…EVERY. DAMN. TIME.