26 April 2010
Ek Garam Chai Ki Pyaali Ho
Remember Sallu bhai shaking his bounty to this number?
Ek garam chai ki pyali ho
Koi usko pilane wali ho
Chahe gori ho ya kaali ho
No. This post is not about Sallu miya. Some other time and day for you Salman.
This is about the garam chai. One of nature’s sweetest gifts. My passport to a blissful morning.
I have never understood people’s craze for the myriad tea flavors - lemon tea/black tea/herbal tea/honey tea/green tea/tulsi tea & so on & so forth. Pot boiled tea with a dash of crushed ginger is what sets my heart racing. I love ginger tea. Never tested coffee in my life. EVER. Just the smell puts me off completely.
One of the things I like about my life, after I quit my full-time job to become a freelance trainer, is the ritual surrounding my evening cup of tea. I like it alone! Just me & a book or a magazine & some crunchy snacks to munch on. Can’t do without my evening cup of chai. I actually obsess about it. I constantly think about it even during my afternoon nap. I savor every drop of the beverage. Sipping your tea while watching the changing hues of the sky, counting the birds returning home, the sun getting ready to retire for the day – it’s a visual treat you don’t wanna miss! Also. there’s a lot of calm all around in the evenings.
This is one thing & one moment alone I don’t like sharing with Sathya. This is the only time I prefer him to remain silent. And this is the only time he chit-chats. On purpose. To annoy me. He even quotes my often repeated, wise & logical “couples who talk are the ones who stay together” theory. Also, he likes his tea slightly lukewarm, which according to me, is a disrespect to tea & a mild crime.
We have a friend, originally from Mandya, who makes his tea that tastes more like sugar syrup. Every time we visit his house, which is quite often, Sathya ends up drinking an extra cup (my cup). Back home in South Canara, we like our tea strong. In most parts of Kerala, you get really watery tea in big tumblers. I guess, since they drink so much in a single day, they keep it ‘light’. Hyderabadi chai is in a league of its own. You only find Iranian chai everywhere. For me, that was the toughest part of living in that city for a year. It’s very difficult to find ‘regular’ tea. I was forced to go looking for the ubiquitous ‘Udupi’ hotel whenever I stepped out. The trademark biscuits that accompany their chai is mouth-watering & the only saving grace.
You get the best tea in Bangalore in Adigas (all d outlets) & Food Camp & Hallimane in Malleshwaram. Hot,strong and milky. Since I am married to a smoker, I also frequently drink tea in these pan-beedi shops or from the roadside vendor with his big tea can. For two rupees you get exactly two tablespoons of tea in a tiny little plastic cup!! But then it’s about the ambience, not the tea per se. Have you ever drunk tea sitting idly on the pavements of the BDA complex in Sadashivnagar? Or on the railings of the world famous ‘narayanandu’ idli-vadey hotel adjacent to the railway station in Malleshwaram? A must try!!