The tea cup is the centre of attention. All people have diverse perspectives on something that has long been thought of as a normal part of daily life. It garnered greater notice when Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited local, national, and international dignitaries, as well as regular people, to share their perspectives over tea. So much is simmering over and around the cup of happiness.
A Buddhist monk chewed tea leaves 2000 years ago to stay awake through arduous penance. Tea is thought to have grown wild. Although it is known that locals once brewed or cooked it as a vegetable dish with garlic and oil, the British introduced it to the nation in its current form on a large scale in the 19th century. The CTC quickly changed in response to climate, geography, and general culinary customs, leading to a variety of ways to prepare it. Some people want it sweet, while others prefer it with salt. The amount of milk and tea also varies depending on regional tastes.
Whatever the method of production, it controls homes and hearts, being consumed by both the elite and the ordinary. Laxman Rao, a tea dealer in New Delhi, is a fascinating illustration of how tea unites people with various interests. Rao, the author of multiple books, supports himself by selling tea. His mobile “outlet” on the sidewalk serves as a gathering place for activists and students of all colours, and the stories in his novels are based on the experiences of his customers.
similar to how strong, sweet tea with loads of milk is consumed as an afternoon meal with rotis by factory workers and rickshaw drivers while assisting people in white-collar occupations to overcome their post-lunch drowsiness. It is taken all day long as a common beverage that uplifts and unwinds, and it is available everywhere from homes to offices to college canteens to roadside stands to five-star hotels to motorways to train stations.
You can find it wherever you name it. Similar to how tea shops are the first businesses to open at dawn to accommodate early office goers and people returning exhausted from the night shift, the aroma of tea can be found wafting from the kitchen at home first thing in the morning.
What makes this mixture of boiled milk, sugary water, and tea so popular with the general public? While all tea drinkers find it to be soothing and energising, the beverage has a unique meaning for each person.
The beverage’s power extends beyond flavour and taste. Steeped and Stirred, a documentary that explores the many meanings of tea and debuted recently at PSBT’s Open Frame festival, was inspired by Shweta Ghosh’s appeal. “The goal was to gain a wider perspective on something as ordinary as tea.” The goal was to convey this information while also evoking the warmth and excitement that drinking tea genuinely provides! My passion for tea inspired me to make this film. It’s not just she, though, who is in love with tea. Watch as 90-year-old Hyderabadi Bilal Yasin describes in great detail how tea was traditionally made with care and effort to bring out its flavour and taste. She exclaims, with excitement in her eyes, “I can’t explain the joy of that procedure and the joy of drinking it in words.”
Similar emotions are expressed by Singh, the owner of Anandini Himalaya Tea, who refers to the beverage as the lifeblood of the nation, and Subudhi, who views it as a way of life and notes that it is appropriate for all times, moods, and circumstances. “The tea breaks at work give an informal context for talking about work early in the day.” The evening cup of coffee and snacks with friends, coworkers, and family take on a completely different flavour and help one unwind.
Tea has long had a specific place in gatherings where various issues are discussed. One is likely to see groups of young and elderly discussing everything from politics to foreign issues to art and culture, whether it be at modest roadside cafes in Kerala and Tamil Nadu or tea houses in Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai. The importance of tea and the places it creates, according to Ghosh, “may actually be a really strong social and political tool.” Middle-class and working-class people can gather at tea stalls, Indian coffee shops, and Iranian cafés to unwind or to passionately discuss and debate cultural, political, and social concerns.
Despite being extremely popular, tea has always trailed coffee in popularity. However, the trend is currently changing. Leading coffee shops, both Indian and international, took note of it right away and have since added tea choices to their menus. Not only that, Tea cafes are rapidly expanding throughout the metropolises and provide a wide range of teas, including masala, jasmine, Darjeeling, and Japanese.
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