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I promise this is going to be a very tiny-winy post 🙂 😉 …

Have you ever had such a moment when you came back home tired, restless and irritated to be welcomed to a cup of steaming hot, aromatic, strong tea? Hmmm…heaven! Well, that’s my favourite “moment” of personal history. A cup of  tea soothes your senses and gives an instant energy to continue with a day’s work.

Let me give you a secret recipe for instant moksha through a cup of tea (well the recipe is not mine either, but sincerely thank the recipe developer 😉 ).  When you are very-very tired and feel completely drained out, when you feel nothing is going your way, then just boil and pour some water into your cutest tea mug, add sugar cubes, a generous helping of Glucose powder and garnish with your favourite tea bags (no milk or milk-powder please). Remove the tea-bags, tinkle the ingredients with a spoon and sipppp it
(scrumptious sip) 🙂 . Hmmm!! Delight! Don’t forget to thank the recipe developer 😉 …

Personally, I have some favourite moments in company with chai which I would like to share with you:

1. I enjoy my first cup of tea in the morning all by myself –like to sit with the tea-mug for almost an hour without talking to people, looking out of the huge windows of my hostel mess at the students and pedestrians walking on the pavement .  From the hostel mess you can see people hurrying for their classes, students rushing in their bicycles and the Tum-Tum completely packed — a sight to behold! Nevertheless, that tea also reminds me that sometime I have to think about my own books and studies 😉 . Am a late riser but am really addicted to the “morning tea” schedule. We don’t have China cups or porcelain here, but I assure you the chai of our hostel — even if it is too sweet or too strong and even if it is served in stainless-steel glasses is yummmm! In fact, can’t imagine my day to begin without this cup of chai. I actually “think” with my morning tea — so you can imagine how delightful it is.

2. I love to spend my afternoons at KRESIT chai-walla. If there is one landscape of IIT that will always remain etched in my memory — it is this chai place and for one particular reason, you see a perfect harmony of nature and human beings at this place. The place is shady, enveloped by huge trees, green creepers and smaller flower bushes — a small oasis in this academic hub. You can see the typical IIT junta — Profs, students, staff taking a chill-pill at this place. Socialism is at its best here — no difference between teachers and students — people discuss everything right from personal lives to thesis and professional worries at KRESIT chai`lla. In the afternoons, when I feel sleepy in the lab, a hot, refreshing cutting or full-chai stimulates the senses and keeps me awake for the rest of the slog 🙂 .

3. This one is from my past — in Dhenkanal (a sleepy tiny town in Odisha), there was an underground tin-roofed chai canteen somewhere behind the engineering college where I was teaching during my Postgraduate days.  One had to take a flight of steps down the surface of the earth to reach that canteen 🙂 . Dhenkanal, being a valley was always very rainy during monsoons and chilly-frosty during winters. In the rains, it was simply amazing…there would be hoards of clouds that floated through the steps into the main entrance of the canteen and block visibility. If you walked a little beyond the canteen, out into the open field, there were massive moss-green mountains, hillocks and small-forests to greet your vision. If you clapped in the silence of that valley, hoards of parkeets and robins fluttered-rose-flew at one go!  Hmm! breathtaking! I used to brave the rains and go to that little canteen to have adrak walli chai — ginger tea. Students flocked around in the iron benches of the canteen, gossiped, sometimes sang (remember Pavan thumping the table with his fist and singing “Sakiya!” loud and clear) and an occasional couple sat drinking in each “moment” of togetherness with their cups of tea. I used to sit with friends or alone and enjoy the pitter-patter of rains on the tin roof, clouds surrounding and the steaming hot chai —  a scene straight from a painting, except all that was real.

4. Postgraduate days in the UniversityOMFED parlour and strong red-hot tea with extra pattis — fast life, hot blooded discussions on University politics, friends, Romans and country men/women 🙂 … “The Summer of 69” and I would add “the best days of my life…” . Can never forget the famous pani-tanki and the chai-upon-bike, rhyming with Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s place in England 😉 . Those days chai had the flavour of D.H.Lawrence and James Joyce and Virginia Woolf and Tagore …

Well, now it’s 2008 and we are back from the gullies of nostalgia.

The moral of the story: tea is a wonderful herb, which can be enjoyed at any time and any place. However, it also depends on the mood and the locale to make a drink special and to make the moment immortal.Alcohol is not the only sooth — any tea-connoisseur can bet on this. But, the moments, the landscape and the flavour of your chai makes things special. 

These are photographic moments of life — captured in the lense of memory.

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