Like the many preferences and confusions of India, beverages too play their glorious part. But tea, the mother of them all has been a favorite of generations and has been a faithful companion from roadside stalls to high end tea bars. It may have been brought to us by the English and like many of their better habits; we have faithfully stuck to it. So where to begin, when chronicling India’s romance with tea?
Our 125 billion strong population loves tea, in different tastes, recipes, moods and times. Rarely will one come across an Indian home without television and tea, the latter often an accompaniment to enjoy the former. We love tea, whenever and whichever way it is served. Be it on roadside stalls on an early morning before rushing to the office or to take a break from work hours, a cup of tea helps us cope with things we’d normally be tearing our hair over. Like India itself, which is taking baby steps towards becoming a global economy, tea has also upped its game, becoming a raging beverage, available in tastes which have never been sipped before.
When it comes to the variety of tastes, tea in India is like a proud and boastful mother. The roadside tea stalls, a strict no-no for diabetics, have developed a sweet concoction of too much milk, too much sugar and some tea and have perfected the art of getting people addicted to them. The tea stalls are busy places, with morning office going crowds taking up their energizing cup to evening gatherings when many a storm brews in teacups. The high end tea bars might feel a bit pocket pinching, but cozy atmospheres and variety of tea tastes have found quite a favor amongst the young.
So when do we drink tea? When we are happy, hungry (accompanied by an array of snacks of course), angry (observe a local tea stall and how a plethora of cups are ordered after every heated arguments becomes even more heated), woken up, sleepy and probably every other hour. To modify a well known quote, it can safely be concluded that in India, two’s a company and tea’s never a crowd.