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!!

36 comments:

  1. This is was nice.Suji keep writing and keep reading my crazy mind as well.Tea is a must for me too.2 tbsp tea for 2 Rs.hehehheh...

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  2. I totally agree with you tea should be enjoyed in isolation with a book or with a pleasant thought :)

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  3. @Suzaan: ya we really get 2tbsp for rs 2 :)

    @India's no.1 blog: i really like the self-proclaimed status - india's no 1 blog....so cheeky & amusing :)

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  4. I love sipping tea in the morning. Lovely article and writing definitely is your cup of tea...Super!!!

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  5. @Saru: writing my cuppa tea..dat was an unusual compliment :)))

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  6. nice post...tea is really best during nights to awaken :) though i never drank tea so far , love preparring it.

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  7. @chitra: this is definitely the doctor speaking :) tea during nights & u only make it don't drink it :((

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  8. Wow...Staying amidst girls who are Tea haters and coffee lovers, I finally feel so good after reading what you wrote! :)

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  9. @metagravity: glad about that; thanks for posting

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  10. Hi Sujatha..very nice post. I am addicted to Chai too! I had written on the very same topic a while ago. Do check it out at http://richlandtalk.blogspot.com/2010/03/cheers-to-chai.html

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  11. Like your Sathya - I also like my tea luke warm. Actually I prefer coffee, but sometimes cardamom tea is just wonderful (without any sugar)! :)

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  12. I am a big time tea lover and cannot start my day without a cup of hot chai. I am a tea addict and I know its bad, but sorry cant help. Guess old habits die hard! A very interesting post indeed. Keep writing Sujatha.
    Barkha Dhar

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  13. @Richa: oh is it? will chk it out.
    this i had written last year (apr 2010). two minds thinking on the same thing....tea lovers we sure are ;)

    @Sunil: cardamom tea! hmmmm ya. without sugar? ouch!

    @Barkha: Cheers to Chai!! some addictions r good Barkha :)) wat say!

    @Ayyangar: hahha...ya i know many ppl who will welcome tea, any time, any # of times :). Ur wife must be a very busy woman :)) just kidding Sir

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  14. Nice post.
    The only variety I liked was a Chennai-canvala's morning tea, served on the jogging ground. I used to love his masala special tea. I have no clu on what goes into it. I really miss it in the morning these days.
    Otherwise I'm a hard core coffee lover.

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  15. @leopaw: and i havent tasted coffee in my life :)
    your post did show what a great coffee lover you are :)

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  16. I am totally crazy for tea!! Can have it anytime of the day.. and yes I just like adrak wali chai ONLY.. and I hate the coffee smell/taste/the process of making it, everything.. and yes most importantly, I make awesome/mindblowing adrak tea.. yeah no modesty here, jo hain wo hain.. :-))

    Few differences though:
    I have tasted coffee in UK(where I didnot have many options to keep myself awake in the office :-))
    and I cant have my tea piping hot.. :-))

    Loved this post!!

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  17. @Jenny: thank you Jenny

    i was smiling at your no modesty wala line :))

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  18. Good one :) It pretty much sums up my penchant for the ginger masala chai. Thanks for the post. Was a great read.

    The malleswaram idli-vada shop, I believe it's 'Raghavendra Stores'.

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  19. @Raj: yesssss, wow you know it too? great :)

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  20. Sujatha I can understand the feeling of tea drinker because I have seen in my family fighting over a cup of tea...I dont take tea..As always nicely written:):)

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    1. u don't? !!
      for health reasons? or because u like coffee?

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  21. I am a recent convert to Masala chai...otherwise adrak chai anytime.
    Very nice post:)

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    1. thank you Sir you are taking the time to read my older posts

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  22. I love tea. Can't spend a day without drinking tea. I also like my tea a bit lukewarm just like Sathya. :D

    If I don't drink the tea on time, I'll hear screams from my mom, "Akshay tea tannigaithu, ivathe kudithiya?" :P

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    1. LOL...correct your mother says...innane matte!!

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  23. A beautiful tea-tale! :) Reading it was as good as savoring a cup of tea. I used to drink coffee until I went to college. And in BITS, it was only tea. The guy in the redi made amazing tea and I havent tasted anything close to that before or after. We used to speculate he mixed ganja or some secret ingredient. :P You brought back those memories.

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    1. tea-tale - that's a nice word.
      thought he mixed ganja - woah!!

      what's redi?

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    2. :) Redi is just like a road side shop which serves tea and other snacks (bondas etc..) We used to have one outside every hostel. And the guy made something called a "special chai" which was indeed out of the world! :)

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    3. oh i see. different name! redi!
      we call it something more mundane - tea shop!

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    4. only we call it rehri- रेहड़ी ! Sometimes it is a mobile shop with wheels underneath !

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    5. ya ya the wheels - yes seen those

      rehri -umm

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  24. Being an incorrigible tea- addict, I could not but like the post.Every thing nicely put. Unfortunately, no bed tea for me since ages, as only i prepare tea at home and a good one. BTW, this is my take on Tea, hope you like it !

    http://aarkay-musings.blogspot.in/2010/04/tea-modern-day-manna.html

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    1. will go check your post now. thanks for the link :)

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