My father and mother had adapted and adopted many cultural rituals, that was long established in Srivatsam, which then became standards. Welcome to our version of the Mad-Hatter Tea Party with more emphasis on empathetic listening.
Small Note: Before you venture further into this piece, please do grab a beverage, and continue to read!
Our Day’s Routine for Mealtime and Beverage Breaks!
Our day opens with breakfast and beverage drinks at 7 am, followed by 2 pm lunch, around 4 – 4:30 pm we have tea break, around 7:30 pm we sit down for dinner, closure for the day is done with some warm milk at 9 pm then it is bedtime with light out.
During my school days, I was not part of the tea ceremony; but on Saturdays and Sundays we would have tea so many times in a day whenever mother picks up a fancy for tea drinking. Our chai latte would be served with various spice versions such as ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.
But from 1989 my school operations became shift based so it was from 7:15 am to 2:30 pm. This made us available at 4 pm for chai; but then the young ones got Horlicks or Boost, no chai was allowed. After my 10th Public I was introduced into the adult group and had a smaller serving of the chai.
Summer Vacation and Chai Counter Opens
I remember innumerable summer vacation when family would arrive in droves to spend time together in Chennai. Chai counter in my mother’s kitchen was always open. She also had her special herbs that is a collector’s special chai latte which was popular during the summer vacation.
She had that special recipe to herself. She has mentioned it to me many times; but my poor memory has lost it. I used to enjoy drinking her version of chai that was so much fun. For me Chai was everything blended in with the right touch of human emotions.
Freshman My First Entry into the Kitchen
From my freshman years in 1993, I was the official tea-maker of my home. I began to venture into the kitchen with my mother’s critical eyes to safeguard me always on the lookout for me. I loved the entire act of making tea from scratch to finish. You had to be careful that the bitterness of the tea leaves does not overpower final output due to uncontrolled heat range.
The smell that rises and the right touch of cream, sugar, then filling of the ‘porcelain or Bone China’ cups and to carry it without any spill. The walk from the kitchen to the living room sofa-set used to be walking on oiled marbles.
When that much amount of care goes into the making of tea and to serve it to the waiting guest, host, and visitors of that moments; I genuinely enjoyed making tea for anybody. I loved every little process of the chai making. The act of making tea would bring peace and well-being for me which is just an after effect.
Conversation Begins After the Tea is Served!
Once the tea is done being served, you can sit back, relax to listen in. I learned the art of listening only during these tea episodes. The television would be shut off and even my father would chip in with his views. Usually, making my father talk is rather difficult. He is talented in holding his silence.
Mummyji was the opposite she loved to talk. The conversation is no longer important but the camaraderie that could be felt during that time is priceless. I had innumerable stories of my parents’ life stories. Their friendships and life’s understanding were lessons for me.
Dream for Post Pandemic Days | Hope Is A Given!
I want to someday learn Japanese style of tea making and have a tea ceremony some day for friends and family. Maybe after the pandemic panic releases and we are back to our golden days of freedom to meet and to greet. Maybe, I will set up the Japanese Style Tea Ceremony after all!
My latest craze is to learn from cultural exchange via all the various period KDramas and CDramas. I know it does not make sense. But I do wish if Epic channel or History Channel would take up the challenge of showing the daily life of the common man of world over.
India and Her Diversity Ensures a Story from Each Lighted Windows!
Sometimes just to know what my fellow brothers in India live their daily life would be interesting to watch too. I know little to nothing about East India. Bollywood has immortalized the west India and North had muscled too. South has been an after thought but the East has never been that popular.
The West Bengal and Kolkata are popular due to their literature and poetry. They had one of the best cinematographers and visual storytellers in Satyajit Ray. I am not forcefully dividing India into four parts, but I am saying that all cardinal direction of India is a melting pot of cultural exchange.