Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sameer ki Chai

I have often thought that a single most indispensable part of the Indian college life is the 'local tea'. It is a very humble drink, unlike an elaborate juice or a royal whiskey - the poor tea has no attitude problem. Drink it cold, drink it warm or drink it searing hot, the tea doesn't mind your perks at all.

While the statistics may vary between people and their palates - on an average, it takes 5 minutes to finish a cup of tea. And come to think of it, that is all that the "tea" asks for anyways - that you take a five minute break and have a laugh. Generations of Indians have enjoyed this simple beverage and yet, I recall no study nor scholarly work that acknowledges the cultural contributions of this drink.... (self appreciation intended) Be it romantic overtures, verbal fights, or erudite debates, the tea has seen it all. If the tea ever came to life and decided to tell its story, well, lets just say that even the most genius of contemporary pundits would be put to shame.

I myself never truly appreciated the tea's virtue, until I moved to the States. A part of life so inherent and taken for granted, suddenly became a small yet invaluable souvenir of my country and its culture. Somewhere in the endearing scents of plantation leaves and its soothing vapors, undeniably lies, a part of India's hospitality. It is this part that touches people unconsciously - and while its presence may be subtle and unassuming, its effect, is always significant.

Be it early in the day, or afternoon, or the wee hours of the morning, one can always drink tea. Unlike alcohol, the tea never inspires feelings of guilt and one can always have it with a clear conscience. If alcohol personifies lust and greed, the tea promotes friendship and loyalty.

Given this importance of tea, any friend who volunteers to make it - becomes an instant messiah in the college residence. At USU Logan, this messiah is my dearest friend Sameer. Amongst his many virtues, I put his inborn skill at making tea - the foremost. In deed the jokes that Sameer's tea has inspired - and the laughter that it helped create have left an indelible mark on my memory. A spot, I will always return to, with the affection and fondness - that one associates with college memories.

And so, this piece, despite being cavalier, is dedicated to Sameer and his tea - in recognition of his profound contribution to the Indian student contingent. May GOD bless his soul and motivate him to keep quenching the thirsty throats of me and my friends. Amen!

- Sanket


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