My love affair with the morning cup of tea began in my teens.After I finished school, to be more precise. The phase of sleeping in till late in the morning started; much to the dismay of the rest of the family, as I would be sleeping away blissfully till almost noon sometimes. The family soon came up with an idea; of giving me a cup of tea every morning, to wake me up. Being the youngest one in the family has it’s own perks; I was indulged. They took turns, my siblings and my parents; to wake me in the mornings and “cure” the would-be Kumbhakaran in the house. I can still hear my mother singing out “Tea piyo ji” to me. A hot and aromatic cup of tea was held under my nose daily and then my beloved radio would be turned on. I would sit up grudgingly, grumbling and scowling. I acquired a great taste for the brew and it soon became a way of life. ( The budding Kumbhakaran’s career was nipped in the bud too. ) It became a favourite part of my day, listening to the radio belting out songs, staring out of my bedroom window and sipping on the delicious cup of tea.
This love affair continued after I got married. The husband and I would enjoy the morning tea ; chatting and gearing up for the day. I searched for pretty tea cups in the markets and stocked them in the kitchen. Preparing the tea turned into a culinary experience for me. A few tulsi ( basil ) leaves, freshly ground black peppercorns, lots of crushed ginger, a pinch of saunf (aniseed), dalchini (cinnamon); all went into the pan and filled my new life and new home with a sweet fragrance. Drinking the nectar from these dainty cups filled me with joy and a sense of well being.
Next arrived the children. The cup of tea soon turned into a sacred ritual , which I guarded fiercely. It brought me respite and a sense of “me -time” during those blurry child rearing days. They started going to school and the cuppa turned into an obsession, well almost. What kept me going through the hectic mornings would be the vision of that cup of tea. Once they left for school, I would set up my “space”. A comfortable chair, a peg table next to it with the newspaper on it, two marie biscuits and “THE CUP” – all on the front verandah. Then I would sit on the chair, put my feet up on the small table in front of me, switch on the radio and start sipping. Ahhhhh, heaven !!!! Songs playing, drinking tea, gazing at my beautiful garden and looking at the passers by – this is what I would wait for all morning.
By now, you must have understood the kind of passion I had ( and still have ) for the cuppa. Only a tea lover can understand the ecstasy that a well made cup of tea can bring in the morning. But this love affair of mine has been brought to an end. By whom? You might ask. Who has been heartless enough to commit this hienous crime? Well , the culprit is my E.N.T. surgeon. A long and harrowing episode of “acid reflux” a few months back has brought me to this. The good doctor has completely forbidden tea for me, any time of the day. He has also strictly told me to not attend any kind of parties for 6-7 months atleast; as according to him, I shouldn’t consume any “outside” food. Torture, if you ask me, for a glutton like me who habitually overeats.
Coming back to The Cuppa, I am facing withdrawal symptoms as I crave for it every morning. I admit I gave in to the craving on a few sin filled mornings and drank half a cup. Each time I did it, I could see the strict doctor’s ( he seems to be older than my dad, by the way) face, glaring at me. So, I fight a battle daily in the morning, wiling myself to shut my eyes whenever my husband’s cup of tea comes in my vision, to try and not be affected by the aroma wafting from that cup. I win some days and I lose some days. But, my beloved cup of tea, I hope it’s not a farewell to you. I want you back in my life, and SOON !!!
© Feb 2017 Sapna Dhyani Devrani