The morning tea at my Ajji's place (grandmother, in this case my paternal grandmother) was a leisurely and elegant affair. It stretched from about 7 am to 9 am; sometimes even longer than that.
The silver tea service was beautiful, the handmade cozies for the teapot and the milk pot colourful and functional, the cups and saucers light and dainty. Everything was perfect and exactly to her taste.
So was the tea. None of that prepackaged stuff. Her tea was a blend of a couple of different black teas mixed in just the right proportions.
The proportion of tea leaves to the quantity of water had to be just so and so had the temperature of the milk. Any deviation would result in gathered brows and some sharp words.
The tea was steeped in boiling water but never boiled.
She liked her tea very light. So light that a few drops of milk were enough to lighten it. During the course of the morning other family members and invariably some neighbours would come along for a cup while Ajji presided over the tea table. The tea pot would be refilled several times by our cook who expertly straddled tea time with lunch preparations.
It was an absolute delight to be asked to join her with our cup of Bournvita/ Ovaltime/ Cocoa and the buttered toasts. My Ajji a.k.a the dragon lady was one of the most influential persons in my life. Though I enjoyed those tete-a-tetes, I was more often that not too busy to join her. Just thinking of those missed mornings leave me in a puddle, every time. What I wouldn't do for a cup of tea with her right now.
My tea time right now is diametrically opposite hers and is a party of one.
I don't often drink tea in the morning nor do I crave a 4pm fix. My cup of tea is almost a night cap and helps me unwind after an invariably busy day.
I drink my tea out of a mug and instead of loose tea I use the much maligned tea bags. My current favourite being PG Tips.
Fortified with tea I reach out to my inner-Ajji and wonder what she would've said to
--that whiny parent who couldn't provide 20 pieces paper rectangles for a class project because she had guests for dinner.
--that nosely mom who wanted to know if my child got 'all correct' in the math quiz.
--those overbearing colleagues who think they are the cat's whiskers.
--to those friends who while sitting in my own living room made plans for a getaway without bothering to include me in their plans.
--to people unnecessarily doing terrible things.
Such an exercise is always therapeutic!
This post was originally written for Manisha's IFR:Memories event. It languished in the drafts folder till it was rescued for Anita's Tea Party.
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