I am a social drinker. Am a willing consumer of alcohol two to three times a year. But give me a ‘situation’, good, bad, ugly, happy, sad, thoughtful, and I will turn to my good old cuppa tea. And no green or black tea then. My strong masala tea is what I prefer. And serve it in a glass instead of a cup…ooooo…nothing like it!
As a child I wasn’t allowed to have tea. My grandmother convinced me that when children consumed tea, they ruined their complexion. But once in a while I was allowed to have tea. Today I call those cups of tea, ‘cheat tea’. A cup of milk with a dollop of tea, to give it a hue, which floated between white and off-white?
As I grew older, my father flouted this rule during the road trips we took. As bottled water was not popular those days, he allowed us to have tea as it was boiled and hence reduced the chance of a tummy bug.
But my bond with tea was established during my teens. My childhood friend and I have spent countless hours at the kitchen table in their home, nursing hot glasses of tea in our hands, and pouring out our hearts to each other. Even today when I spend time with my close-knit group of four friends, we make ourselves a pot of tea and spend time chatting. And when I find myself smiling at an English heroine offering the hero ‘tea’ as a panacea to a situation in a movie, I can quite relate to it. I think in a given situation even I would do the same.
And there are a few situations where I cannot complete the picture in my head without a cup of tea in it. A chat with a good friend. Over a cup of tea of course. A good book to read. A cup of tea by my side naturally. Browsing through old picture albums on a rainy day. How could I do it alone? I need a cup of tea by my side.
That’s not to say that I drink tea by the gallons. But somewhere in my head I think that the tea is equivalent to the bubbly needed. As another one of my bosom buddy says, “We are so drunk on life, who needs to drink?”