Note to the reader
This post, takes us down my memory lane. I take this opportunity to share these memories with you, since they have forged my current outlook towards life. Perhaps they might help you too, to look at life from a different perspective.
To many tea is a beverage that is made using the leaves of Camellia sinensis – also called as Tea plant. This particular incident, from my younger days, is about a special tea- a formulation that only a very creative individual with a sense of humour could come up with.
Special Tea Ingredients:
Determination to stick on to your resolutions
Empathy and Love for fellow human beings
Sense of Humour
And... The usual items required for making tea ( You might have to omit a few items, since this is an unusual formulation )
Down the memory lane....
My father gave up drinking Milk,Tea and Coffee in the year 1985. In many places in India it is customary to offer some hot beverage, either Tea or Coffee to guests. In most cases the host does not take no for an answer, you’ve got to take something. On quite a few occasions I was a witness to the host being unhappy, as they couldn’t offer anything to Dad. Over a period of time, friends and family members came to terms with the fact that Dad did not take milk, tea or coffee.
The incident I am going to narrate took place in the year 1992. I was pursuing my degree and had come home for winter vacation. A few days before I was to go back to college, Dad and I went to visit a distant relative: An elderly lady in her late 70’s. It was a cold winter morning. As usual the host asked Dad as to whether he would like to take a glass of tea or coffee. When he said no, she offered to get a glass of milk. Dad tried to convince her that he did not want milk either. Shanta aunty was not ready to take no for an answer. She told Dad “ Gurudutt, you have to take something. Tell me what is it I should get for you ?”
Here was a host, elderly, petite, fragile, loving , kind and instantly likable with a stern concerned motherly look on her face and you could sense that she was not going to take no for an answer.
Dad looked at her. held her hand lovingly and told her “ Amma, I don’t mind having tea, but you will have to make it my way”
Shanta aunty was happy. “Of course I will, dear” she said. “Tell me. How is it you want your tea?”
Dad: “ When you make tea, please don’t add sugar “
Shanta Aunty: “ Done”
Dad: “ Please Don’t add Milk also”
Shanta Aunty: “ Oh so you want Black tea. Okay I will get it for you”
And before Shanta aunty could go to fetch the tea. Dad told her. “ There is one more request”
Shanta Aunty: “ What is it?”
Dad: “ Please don’t put Tea powder also!”
Shanta Aunty had that bewildered look on her face. “ If I don’t add tea powder to it then how is it going to be tea? It will be just hot water”
Dad: “ I don’t mind my tea that way”
So hot water is what dad took on that day, and on many other occasions later on whenever the host insisted that he take a hot beverage
What I loved about the way Dad handled the situation is that he did not offend someone who was trying to play a good host. Shanta aunty was kind at heart and looked on dad as her son.
Dad on the other hand is known amongst family and friends for his ability to stick to his resolutions. Once he had set his mind to doing something, there was no way he was going to give it up. This trait is what made him dependable and also earned him respect. Most of what he has taught us is by setting an example and by walking the talk.
This incident was one such practical demonstration as to how you can use your creativity and sense of humour to address conflicts, diffuse tension, respect others view points yet hold on to yours, and ensure that you convert situations like these into a Win Win situation.
When I saw Shanta aunty being amused by Dad's tea and also heard from others about her lovingly mentioning this funny incident, I realized that what matters most is the way We Brew our Tea of Life !