Tea, we all love it. Need it. Want it. It’s a part of our culture and menu. You can live without food but tea is a big NO. It is so ingrained in our system that some of us wake up to the sound of ‘ Chai ready hai’ instead of alarm. Infact, most of us switch off our hard working dedicated alarm and happily return to our slumber promising ourselves to wake up 5 min later, then 5 min minute more and then last 5 minutes. If it wasn’t for tea, we would never make to colleges and offices on time.
If you happen to be living or visiting B-111, during 1997 -2000, tea could be a very craft affair for the residents were 5 chirpy, lively, naughty and lazy girls. The ring master of the circus was my father, who more often will gang up with them instead of against them. My mother was a silent observer trying to balance out situation most of the time by hinting the victim. Now, since she couldn’t resist and hide her smile she was often made to stay away from situation.
It was fine October morning and one my sister was sleeping, way past her bed time. October back then used to be vey different October, it was cold, pleasant and clean since there was time for fog to set in. It was a usual morning, tea for everybody was made at the same time since we all had to rush to college. So tea for Divya was also made and kept next to her bedside. She was too cozy in the bed to wake up even for tea so she kept sleeping, ignoring numerous wake up shout outs. So papa being who he was, drank her tea and kept an empty cup next to her. She woke up half an hour later to an empty cup completely perplexed because everything was like any other day just the tea cup was empty. The entire zing bang made her believe that she woke up and had her tea and slept again. Her day went by wondering if she really had tea that morning.
For me tea was just routine, something I need to drink twice a day. I till date don’t fancy it much. So, I was not in anybody’s thought when tea was made. But forgetting me completely was blasphemy and they knew that the hell will break loose, if I get know. One day, when I was out running an errand and was to return during tea time, I was completely forgotten by the ladies of the house. As they heard me climbing up the stairs, Shrads got the bright idea of putting left over from all cups for me as they have finished with their tea and tiny bits were left in each cup. I was offered this tea as you would make an offer to a queen with all humility and respect. Me being me, didn’t even realize that there is something wrong and I drank it up completely. It was a well guarded secret till my mother revealed it to me next day.
One of my dear friend came visiting me. It doesn’t often rain cats and dog in Delhi but that day it was raining heavily and he came on the bike all the way from Pashim Vihar, all drenched. He was welcomed and greeted by all the lovely ladies, one guy soaked and cold surrounded by 5 girls in their house. They were all very gentle and kind to him, on of them offered to iron his shirt to dry it. Another one offered to make him tea. Magically, the tea appeared in 2 minutes. In all the household, across the world tea is made and served fresh but not in B-111. Here, one of my darling sister saves her tea in the refrigerator and heats it when she needs to drink it. That day, it was cherished by our visitor.
Next time you come home, you know what you are getting into!