From the diary of a cup of tea
Yes. Yes, it’s me, the cup of tea you never knew could have feelings right? But my head is so full of thoughts, God! (Yes, I’m not an atheist). It’s actually steaming. Glad I found this page to spill my thoughts over. It’s Ramazan and everyone has been craving me. Luckily, I find some peace from sehri till iftar. Phew!
I need no introduction per se. I’m the most widely consumed and Pakistan’s most loved beverage (for any objections, see me after sehri time please). 99% of the time when the Pakistani populace consumes a hot caffeinated beverage, it’s me (it’s a Euromonitor International statistic) and the annual per capita consumption is over one kilogram (the world average is 0.75 kilogram, I checked). You may think whatever, but I call myself the beverage of the nation. No breakfast or evening is complete without me. The rich and poor, gold (read old) and young, all love me. I’m everyone’s cup of tea. Period.
I must say, I can’t help but feel a little proud of myself. You should just see how people crave me after they have had their iftar, the one time even my good old buddy water gets jealous. Aunties, uncles, chotay (small)uncles, choti (small) aunties all just want me. I’m appreciated, I’m celebrated. But I don’t like when I’m roughly jostled into a tray and frisked away from the kitchen. I mean hey! Show some respect! And I don’t even want to mention when baji Sarah spills some tea over the rim while pouring. Ew. Where’s the tissue at?
Though I don’t have a lot of enemies in life (no sir, fizzy drinks are not my enemy *rolls eyes at the absolute absurdity of the idea*), I have made one in uncle Saleem. What does he do? He drives me bonkers!
One teaspoon of sugar and he shatters my nerves (and ears) with the spoon. Uncle, stirring the sugar does not solicit that much noise. And the teaspoon need not touch the sides and the rim of the cup. You are dissolving sugar, not crushing metal cubes, for God’s sake. And the metal-crushing way you do it, the sugar remains un-dissolved still. And then you drop the teaspoon on the saucer with a loud clank. And as if that doesn’t satisfy you enough, you place the cup on the saucer with a loud clatter. How about you fold a napkin and place it on the saucer? Yesterday I had had enough of the clank, plonk, clatter business and what do I do but spill a little bit of myself on uncle Saleem’s white shirt. Serves him right, I say. And who would blame an innocent cup of tea? So, try gently next time.
I love family sittings. Especially, when I hear someone say, maybe?
“Zeenu, aa kar chai pi lo.”
(Zeenu, come have some tea).
It kind of makes me the centre piece that binds everyone together, right? I mean if not me, then what will everyone devour in family sessions? You should have been there when aunty Sabeen got upset with Farah because the tea wasn’t steaming enough (I know the reason of course, Farah was talking on the phone and left me hanging for 15 minutes). I love aunty Sabeen.
How to make the perfect tea? The truth is any tea, made with love and care will taste great. Make the tea in haste and I taste, well, however I desire. And I know all the kitchen stories too. What happens in the kitchen stays in the kitchen, but not for me, I see it all. You should be thankful I keep mother in front of the guests or all hell will break lose (after Ramazan of course).
But I don’t get why everyone wants to dunk every other thing they get hold of in the tea? It gets me so angry seriously. I mean chai peeni hai tau chai peeo, biscuit khana he tau biscuit khao (If you want to have tea, have tea. If you want to eat biscuits, eat biscuits). Why mix the two?
But I do have my occasional revenge. You want to dip that biscuit, right? I’ll see how you dip it just so it no longer remains in your hand. And the top of the list among such people is Cheeku (Exactly! what sort of a name is that?) who likes me just so he can dunk his favourite biscuit into my cup (still rolling eyes in disbelief). I mean he is a kid, but his elders should educate him to respect me more because metaphorically, I’m the eldest in the family (yes, I consider myself a part of the family). He just leaves me when his pack of biscuits is finished. Someone pass me the tissue!
So apart from the treatment Cheeku subjects me to, I rule my world with swag. It has not been easy maintaining my position among the beverages in Pakistan. And my demand is just rising all the time. Even after a hot day, it’s me people desire to de-stress and shake off the fatigue with. I try to be modest though.
It’s almost three am now. You seem to have nothing to do, but I do. Got people calling for me. Adios Amigos! See you until the next cup.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.