It’s not just a cup of tea
I do not like the tea which we get in the canteen, neither my friends like it. It is more like some bad health drink than tea, and sometimes it’s so bad that it is almost impossible even to gulp it in one shot (when relatively cold ofcourse). To get some good tea (upto some level) we need to go out the hostel to makeshift-permanent tea shop. The problem with this is two folds. One, they serve tea with milk and sugar, and only one variety is available, and personally I do not like to always have tea with milk. Two, who will go outside from comfort zone just to grab a cup of tea? It’s too much overhead for a cup of tea. Yet another issue, what to do if I/we want to have some tea at midnight?
Therefore, this semester I brought some good tea with myself. Two brands of the same variant Earl Grey tea. With its distinct hint of Bergamot flavour and with an addition of a little sugar it makes a perfect cup. Although they are the same variant, they differ in strength of the flavour. “Now I can have tea in my room” is easier said than done. There are other things required to prepare the tea. I do not have a water heater, sugar or a cup. Therefore when preparing first what I need to do is to hunt for these things. We have some people who have water heaters. Yes, I can buy sugar from the shop, which is outside the campus (some items are not available inside campus), but every time I think that I must buy sugar today, it gets delayed: “I will do it tomorrow, for sure tomorrow”, and lend some sugar from friends. This “tomorrow” business happens every day, every single day till date. Lending sugar is not always that straightforward. Some times none of the friends have sugar.
One day I hunted for sugar in three friends’ rooms, neither had any left. Then went to some other person from other department in the other wing and got some last remaining grams of sugar just enough for two persons. There was another day when I didn’t get even a trace of sugar in any of the friend’s rooms including the friendly guy from the other wing. Then I went to the canteen and asked for some sugar. The guy told me to return back after half an hour. I thought he doesn’t wanna give. Human kind lives on hope, I returned after half an hour and: “Tell me when to stop”, while he was putting sugar in a small torn away piece of newspaper. Success. Sometimes the canteen is closed and there’s sugar nowhere, and I have left with no choice but to postpone the project. I hope people doesn’t run away next time I ask for sugar. At any cost I should get some sugar for myself (hope I actually buy some) to avoid this stage.
Now the cup or any kind of container. I have no cup or glass, therefore, lend one. The one I am using to pour in tea is not exactly a cup, it is made out of hard plastic, it may be either a cup or a cover of a flask or else, but the most important thing is; it works and it is large enough. Next hurdle is to clean it up. The tea bag still remain in the cup from it’s last use. So it needs a tough wash.
Now time for water. My room is in the first floor of the first section of the hostel. Which unfortunately does not have any water filter. Therefore I need to go downstairs to the end of the section to fill up the water bottle.
Although at a point of time I planned to get hot water from the electric geyser installed in the bath room, but I managed to get one from downstairs room number 49. I needed wash it, boil water, wash it, and return it back. Not good. Recently I discovered another water header in the next door, which I can keep for indefinite amount of time, therefore the fetching and returning steps are not required, but it does need a cleanup before every use to remove the white sediments. Therefore these days atleast the water heater is not a problem, and it won’t be a problem until the owner claims it and returns it back permanently. (Do note, I never used the water from the geyser for any other purpose except for bating.)
Another important piece of tool is a spoon or a stirrer to mix the sugar, so that there is no sugar sediment at the bottom of the cup, which ruin the taste as the tea finishes. Spoon is the most scarce resource. Sometimes I am too lazy to go out to the next door and get a spoon (possibly the only spoon in the area). Therefore we have a makeshift stirrer. A pen refill. Ya, I know it is unhygienic, but it is the only way out. Basically there is one pen which is only used for stirring (which today I could not find anywhere).
As I arrange and collect the essential pieces of the puzzle, sometimes I get another important stuff, with which the fun is doubled. Some friends also join. They come with their own cups, otherwise somehow a spare cup is found out. At last the water boils, tea bag pouches are cut and the tea bags are placed in the cups, sugar is added as per preference, and fresh boiled water is poured in, and it brews. The thing which brews in the cup is tea, but it’s not just a cup of tea, it’s more than that. It comes with friends, chat, nonsense, laughs, good time, a break from studies, refreshment and joy, which makes all the trouble worth it.
With the last sip, I am going to click on the “Publish” button to share a not just a cup of tea with you too.