Tamilians cannot make tea. Take it from me. I can brew an almost perfect filter coffee that makes maamis go besh and look upon me as a potential son in law, but I cannot for the life of me make tea that might impress a Malyalee, a Maharashtrian or a martian for that matter ( No offense to Malayalees, Maharashtrians, or martians for that matter).
My philosophies for making tea are rather hasty as I have come to realize but my habits have steeped in and I am unable to change them. Making tea for me means boiling an inordinate amount of water and throwing in tea powder, sugar, milk, ginger or any other spice that strikes my fancy and then let the unholy concoction bubble for as long I am willing to wait. My tea drinking friends consider this nothing short of blasphemous and I am often looked down upon for this alone.
My shortcomings with regards to tea were discovered by chance. On a rainy afternoon in damp Syracuse, friends unexpectedly dropped in and a spirited evening of conversations followed. Wanting beverages to revive flailing spirits tea was called for and I in all good earnest volunteered. Later on I received heapfuls of curses; someone even accused me of trying to thwart the pleasant evening with my mean coffee drinking agendas.
There are few things better than a good cup of coffee, filter or otherwise and a strong flavourful cup of tea is one of them. Tea drains away blues in the rains. And yes I am quite aware that rhyming is not one of my stronger skills. At home we follow the good Indian tradition of stuffing our guests silly with food and drink. Coffee is passed around ubiquitously, propelling late night caffeine driven card games with unusual amounts of calculations defeating the mathematically challenged.
Last week I went to a friend’s home. “Im sorry there’s no tea or coffee” she said exasperated, her hair forming tense ringlets near her temple. “Beer is in the fridge though, chalega?” A better time was never had before.