“we await the great Avatar. Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea.”
-The Book of Tea
In my travels I like to observe the differences in the way people approach life and how food and drink habits indicate that.
In the East you will find people stopping mid day- many times to enjoy a cup of tea.
No good party can be had without tea.
You can’t properly entertain guests without tea.
Everyone from rich and poor families will serve the same tea in their homes.
Chai runs thick in Indian’s blood.
This morning I made a cup of chai carefully mixed with cardamom and ginger for my Indian father in law. As we enjoyed the fresh morning air we chuckled as he mused at the way Canadians drink their coffee in HUGE mugs and drive off to the next destination plopping it in the cupholder.
“Why so much? and why so quickly?” he asks.
Cup holders and to go mugs are unheard of in the East. No one would ever think of having their tea on the run.
Tea is meant to be drunk sitting down.
It is a time to think, relax, converse, and reflect.
Why would anyone sacrifice that experience for a cupholder?
What does this tell about us in the West?
Have we in the West become a big portable mug culture?
Have we mobilized our relaxation? Have we forgotten how to ponder?
“There is a subtle charm in the taste of tea which makes it irresistible and capable of idealization.Western humorists were not slow to mingle the fragrance of their thought with its aroma. It has not the arrogance of wine, the self-consciousness of coffee, nor the simpering innocence of cocoa.”
One thought on “Musings of Tea”
Before we Americans laugh at the dinky, and I mean dinky, mud cups used for street chai in Kolkata, we should observe how utterly social the drinking of tea is there. I could only rejoice at watching people chatting together over tea before they tossed their clay, single-fired “dinky ass cups” (as one American put it) in the gutter for environmentally sound recycling.
How silly we must look to them as we’re seen tearing down our streets alone with a 16-oz. concoction in a thermal mug! Might there be a better gauge of our respective societies?