Before arriving in India 11 years ago, I had never really been a big fan of tea. I didn't get it, what was this craze regarding boiled leaves? I used to see my parents having their morning cuppa all the time and wonder, "what's so great about drinking bitter leaves with milk in the morning?". I was more than content chugging a gallon of sugar infused "juice” for my morning routine. The sugar would instantly wake me up and elevate my mood, but as science says, "every action has an equal and opposite reaction". So after the sugar wore off, my mood and energy levels would suddenly drop, and I'd be feeling down in the dumps for hours together.
That was before I understood that our body, apart from having an electrical system, also runs on a chemical system. I mean, I did learn about it in science class long ago, but, come on, who takes school seriously, right?
Our body craves nutrients from food to grow and function, but we make use of stimulants like tea to help our mind and body perform optimally or even better than we expected. Man has been using stimulants for ages, and though I may be late to the game, but I was slowly discovering the beneficial effects of green tea.
After arriving in Bangalore, India, the access to my daily "juice" was curtailed because, well, nothing opens before 6 a.m. here, except for your friendly neighborhood chai and cigarette wala.
With no options left, and the laziness of waking up early in the morning kicking in, I apprehensively approached "Babu", the chai wala, and asked him for a cup of Sulaimani chai, which is a black tea with a little lemon, and a spring of mint. The first sip of chai left me dumbfounded by the complexity of taste that hit me. I was not expecting a wakeup call like this! Having such a sweet tooth, I didn't understand why I was attracted to this bitter/sour combination. But I loved the way it made me feel, and it worked better than a sugary drink without the ill effects.
I was awake, and now, I was hooked.
I visited Babu two to three times a day to get my tiny cup of amber joy, and little did he know what a major role he played in my understanding of tea, and by extension, life.
Tea added that slight boost of energy which I needed to kick-start my day, and I wasn't planning on going back to consuming sugar for breakfast.
A first impression can be a lasting impression, and that experience was one I will never forget. I thank Babu for making my first experience with tea such a brilliant one, because it was after my first cup of tea that I started getting back into learning how our
Needless to say that I am now a true tea aficionado constantly on the lookout for the finest tea flavors - Greens, whites, blacks and oolongs. Not only have I unravelled a new dimension to my consumption but also discovered the multiple benefits that one can derive out of it.
We should all learn from our experiences, and tea, by extension, has taught me how to treat my body better, and we all know, a fit body begets a fit mind.
My new mantra - Let us treat our bodies right, and treat each other even better.