27 November, 2020

Storm In A Chipped Cup

The various guises that tea takes in India

Storm In A Chipped Cup

Peace and calm seemed to soothen the air in the courtyard of the Thikse Monastery near Leh. The serene expressions of the maroon-robed monks complemented the tranquil air. As we sat cross-legged by the gaggle of brightly coloured prayer wheels, one of the monks politely served us cups of tea.

That’s when everything went awry.

Now I am a big fan of chai, and would hardly ever refuse a cup. But my companion Chetan hadn’t ever had a cup of tea till that day. But now he was in a spot and frankly so was I, because the tea served was Tibetan—unappetisingly green, with strong-smelling yak’s butter floating on top like a thick layer of Atlantic oil spill. I managed to gulp down the ghastly brew, well disguising my grimace. But Chetan turned green as the vile punch glided down his gullet.

That, thankfully, has been my only experience of turmoil concerning tea. I don’t remember a single trip where I haven’t stopped for a cuppa. It has reassured and refreshed, started conversations, caused...



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