Stories about tea

We don’t like coffee, we like the idea of coffee

Between Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi, a new coffee place opens just about every week. From a marketing point of view, I find this to be fascinating. We’re generally a tea drinking nation. The caffeine that runs through our veins has been passed down though generations via a karak cup of tea. There is no Pak Coffee House. And yet, today we’re all gung-ho about the coffee, a tleast in the higher rungs of the social ladder. Places like MM Alam Road and Zamzama are littered with these little cafes. How come? I think it’s a triumph in product positioning. We like the idea of ...

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Just a spoonful of sugar

How much of a crisis is the sugar crisis? We use sugar in our tea, coffee and dessert. I will reluctantly concede that some cannot survive without their sweetened tea and coffee but I refuse to believe that we cannot go without dessert. Sure enough, if sugar were to disappear from the face of this country tomorrow, our caffeine would be a lot blander and our desserts fewer in number. But our health will not deteriorate and our sweet tooth will not be left unsatisfied (fruits, anyone?). So what’s the outrage all about? For those who gasp at the thought ...

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Adventures in Oslo: Part 2

My gorgeous red Jafferjees handbag (yes, the one that makes me drool) containing passports, my ID card, tickets, wallet, credit cards and all my money was stolen in Oslo this afternoon and my travel insurance does not cover loss of passport or personal items. Other than that rather unfortunate incident at the Oslo Town Hall, it was a very interesting start to the trip. Angels in Norway Mudassir’s suitcase still hadn’t arrived at breakfast so no mics or tapes. We munched through our salmon and smoked mackerel and heaps of cheese and tried to figure out what to do. Just then Carsten, ...

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Colonial ‘chai’ and capitalist ‘coke’

A few days ago, a guest at my house enquired why I don’t drink tea. I mentioned that at some precarious juncture of my youth I irrevocably replaced ‘chai’ with ‘coke’ as my daily conduit. He expressed his dismay and proceeded to tell me how ‘coca cola’ was a Zionist enterprise and a universal capitalist symbol. I responded that ‘chai’ was just as much a colonial symbol as coke was a capitalist one. If one beverage carried with it the plasticity of commercialism; the other bore the bourgeois refinement of elitism. The conversation got me thinking seriously about our colonial ...

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