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Archive for July, 2010

Over a Cup of Chai

"with a few dashes of love"

This world can be divided into one of two kinds of people: coffee drinkers, and tea drinkers. Some may disagree with this statement, and granted, there are those, such as my dad, who drink neither.

My mom was, without a question, a coffee drinker. Once we traveled to another city to visit friends and stayed overnight. When my mom woke up the next morning, it wasn’t until she had her “cuppa” that she remembered where we were.

For many years I rarely touched tea, especially hot tea. On a summer’s day I would enjoy the ice cold, lemony variety, but that was about it.

I had been in India about a week when some friends took me out for my first Indian restaurant experience. After testing some delicious food with names that I had a hard time pronouncing at the time, they ordered chai.

“You gotta try it. It’s the Indian version of tea.”

I gingerly took a sip. It was strong, and sweet, very sweet.

“It’s great.” I managed to sputter.

“You’ll get used to it.” They assured me.

*          *          *

Six months later, I still had not ventured another cup of chai. But that was all about to change, with a forty day road trip around India. We crossed through ten states and encountered rains and floods, elephants and monkeys, forts and flocks throughout. (You will soon see more posts about this journey.)

The food in each state seemed to be as varied as the changing landscapes we drove through. There were other dishes that did not quite find their way into my heart, either because they were too spicy, or too sweet. Yet on every single restaurant’s menu card, was chai. Whether it was a roadside “dhaba” in Bihar that served nothing but dahl and rice, or a restaurant in Gujarat that sported the famous thali with buttermilk, a meal was not complete without a hot and sweet cup of chai at the end. In the above mentioned restaurant, a boy that could not have been more than ten years old, served our chai. He had a pitcher of it and held the cup at least a foot below, pouring it swiftly with a flourish and a smile on his face, without spilling a drop.

Although on the first leg of our trip, I was still not quite used to the “different” drink, by the time we returned to Lonavla, I would have to say I had more than a few cups of it—a lot more.

Still, though, when given the option, coffee was my drink of choice.

Then I moved to Delhi and met Daniel, who eventually became my husband. One day, trying to impress him, I attempted making him a cup of chai. I boiled water, stuck in a tea bag for a moment, added sugar and milk, and presented it to him with a smile.

He took one taste and asked me how exactly I made the stuff.

“It’s just tea with milk and sugar, right?” was my response.

He hesitated and I could tell he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. “Not exactly…”

“So then?”

“Come on; let me show you.”

He put water and milk in a pot, and added sugar and a couple elaichi (green cardamom). Once it came to a boil, he added a couple spoons of tea leaves, stirred it and turned off the flame. After waiting a minute, he strained it into two mugs and handed me one. Without a doubt, it was the best chai I had tasted, perhaps because it was mixed with a few dashes of love as well.

I must have made countless attempts at the “perfect cup” of chai before getting it exactly right. After seven years of marriage, though, I think I’ve gotten it down fairly well.

This morning, a friend was looking after our children, and after a much needed sleep-in, I headed downstairs to make a couple mugs of chai: water, milk, sugar, elaichi..tea leaves…strain it…and offered it to my hubby with a kiss. And guess what? He said it was perfect! After all, it was mixed with a few dashes of love as well.

Then I came to an important realization. I’m a confirmed tea drinker. Amazing what love can do.

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Though I Speak…

It’s not about you

It’s not about me

It’s not about all those things I wish I could be

It’s not about joy

It’s not about pain

It’s not about sacrifice and giving for gain

It’s all about love, yeah it’s all about love

It’s not about why

It’s not about when

It’s not about freedom from mistakes and sin

It’s not about who

It’s not about how

It’s not about all those things I’m thinking now

It’s all about love, yeah, it’s all about love

It’s about showing love to a hurting heart

It’s about lending a hand and being a part

It’s about smiling in the face of pain

It’s about giving and loving again and again

It’s all about love, yeah, it’s all about love

Without love, what is joy?

Nothing but pain.

Without love why try

Again and again?

Without love only reasons are not enough

Life would be miserable, and way too tough

But it’s all about love; yeah, it’s all about love.

Love is all we need.

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An Idea Person

I am going through an interesting phase in my life, which I have decided to call: the idea phase.

Every day, and usually at the most random times, an idea pops into my head. Invariably it’s when I am not sitting at my computer. Top three places for ideas: 1. on the roof, 2. in my bed half asleep, 3. on the front porch.

Usually I am very inspired by these ideas and think that they are absolutely great! Who wouldn’t?

I mean, for one: the idea is mine and no one else’s. And two, the idea usually has potential. Of course, I always check the veracity of the potential of my idea with my husband, who is my official and unofficial sounding board.

I think he is starting to cringe every time I burst out with, “I have an idea!”

Some of these ideas I cannot share, because I’m still trying to figure out how to patent them first. But please, have faith and patience; something will eventually come of them, sooner, if not later (most likely later though).

Over the past week alone, I have had the idea for about five different websites. The fact that I still have no idea how to build a website is beside the point. The idea is there, and it is good. (This is why I am ever so grateful for my sounding board.)

In case you hadn’t noticed, the idea I had today was to finally begin posting on this blog once more and make it a bit more “happening”.

Hope you enjoy it, and don’t worry, most posts are not this random.

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