Buddha discovered Tea

Any Time It’s Tea Time

Chinese mythology has myriads anecdotes about the discoveries of ’Cha’, or what we call tea. One such story portrays Buddha as the discoverer of this aromatic leaf which he found soothing and mind refreshing. So having Indian roots in its inception, tea has managed to enter the day to day life of our country. And in a way tea is among the very few common things in our varied culture. Therefore the recent consideration to making tea our national beverage is only a token of its importance in our lives today.

If we contemplate tea acts as a fellow accompanying us without any reason. It acts as a medium of uniting hearts (credit to college canteen tea), fixing marriages (our typical Indian to be bride serving tea to her future in laws), stress buster (headache remedy by default), a motivator (”I have to study all night need tea!”) and in many other ways. It is a source of creativity, and also gives thrust to any discussion or talk. A delight for winters and a reason to halt during long road journey at road side Dhabas.

Homemade ginger tea is what we need after long tiring day. And thus we notice that this beverage holds a default status in our lives. We love, we hate, we get inspired, we offload our minds, we welcome and we do many such things with the aid of a cup. Even going through the same process of making, tea manages to hold different color, taste and feel each time. Our college canteen-walla makes tea with the least ratio of milk to water, but we ardently demand cup after another and will recollect it for years after we graduate. The cacophony of train’s movement, high pitch “Chai chai chai” piercing our ears and dull looking tea in paper cups is the delight of any journey.

I don’t understand how it took so long to recognize its presence in our lives. When it’s registering the presence in the sub-continent from centuries and it has amalgamated in our lives like our companion, the recognition will neither add nor degrade its ubiquitous reputation. I am not exaggerating but when we sleep with a belief of better tomorrow, this belief is strengthen by tea as we wake up and start our day with it. Thank you, Chai, for being in our lives.

(courtesy: Youth Ki Awaaz & Awanish Shahi)

‘National’ govt & media sinks into obsolescence

This sentence has no meaning: “Tea to be declared Indian national drink.”

But that was the headline this week in several newspapers that reported on a proposal of the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission of India, a government body that plans things. What will happen after tea is declared the national drink? Nothing much, of course. But once word got out, an influential cooperative society of milk producers said that milk, and not tea, should be declared the Indian national drink.

Manu Joseph, Editor of  Open and author of the novel “Serious Men” writes in The New York Times: 

‘National’ Loses Power as an Idea in India

It is odd that this fuss has arrived at a time when the very idea of “national” is becoming irrelevant in India, especially in matters far more serious than tribute to tea. The political supremacy of New Delhi and the central government is being challenged by state governments and other regional forces.

..It is not just in politics that the power of the national has diminished. The news media are increasingly forced to become regional. Most of India’s English-language newspapers consider themselves national publications. But they are not so in spirit. They have multiple editions, and on most days local reports overshadow national news…

..Accustomed to decades of concentration of power, Delhi’s elite is a well-run confederation of cozy cartels containing politicians, bureaucrats, merchants, middlemen, journalists, novelists and people whose day jobs cannot be easily described. They take care of their own. That is how they guard their mediocrity…

..As the idea of “national” sinks into obsolescence, it will one day liberate the rest of India from the hold of Delhi. In a way, that has already begun to happen…

(Read full column : http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/world/asia/26iht-letter26.html?_r=1