one cup of tea

This happened almost ten years ago. One day my dadaji (grandfather: father's father) came home for a bit in the afternoon.  My mom and the help were probably not at home, so I offered to make him a cup of tea (Indian Chai) although I rarely entered the kitchen those days.

As the tea started to brew, I felt I had put too many tea leaves (chai patti) since the tea looked dark.  So I added more milk.  But I knew my mom used 50-50 ratio of water and milk.  So I also put more water.  That meant adding a little more sugar.  I was trying to apply logic.  As I let the tea boil, it appeared a little lighter in color than what I used to see mom serve.  Without any sense of measurement, I put another spoon of tea leaves and let it brew longer.

The chai continued to get dark brown.  Then I had to add more milk, more water, more sugar.  I sieved some chai into a cup, whiffed to cool it and took a sip.  Oh lord, the chai tasted way too sweet!  I probably should not have added sugar each time.  So I put in more tea leaves, more milk, and equally more water.  And prayed for this to be the last trial.  Because the one cup of tea turned out to serve almost eight people.

Finally, I sieved the chai into a cup, put some biscuits on a plate, and took the tray to my grandfather who had been waiting past 40 minutes for one cup of tea.  He took the cup by its handle, looked at me and asked, "itni der kaise laga di? chai bana bana ke fek rahi thi kya?!" [translate: why did it take you so long? were you making tea each time and throwing away?]

Ten years later today, I laugh so hard remembering this incident that my stomach hurts.
That one cup of tea.
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1 comment:

  1. Hi Nisha

    This made me smile. The opposite of the monkey and two cats story isn't it :-)

    This reminds me of the way my office cafetaria makes Maggi. One guy orders a plate, the cook puts it on the gas and then another order comes along, the cook adds water/maggi/tastemaker to the *same* pot. If it's your unlucky day, the queue of successive orders continues to have a time gap of < 2mins and you can imagine what sort of "Maggi" you get by the end of it.


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