Looking down at the mug in her hand, she was taken back to all those cups of tea she has shared with her family. Promptly at 4, their long-time maid would bring the steaming cups, each one of a different shape and size. Her dad liked his clear glass mug that could just about hold one cup of tea. Her mom liked bigger portions of tea so her mug was significantly bigger, easily holding about 2 cups of tea. Her grandmom, however, would not hear of using a ceramic mug, or re-heating her tea for that matter. Hers was a worn out, thick, and heavy stainless steel tumbler that was slightly dented at the bottom so it would always clang against the other mugs as it made its way to her.
Her mug, now that was a story in itself. Hers was a plain white melamin mug that she had tried to customize at various stages in her life. When she was 13, she tried to use fabric paint and draw hearts all over it. The paint washed off leaving faint stains of pink. Clearly, fabric paint was only meant for fabrics! At 16, she came across some particular type of goo in tubes that supposedly stuck to wood, ceramic and glass. Those squiggly lines and leaves peeled off in time too, now leaving faint smudges of bronze and grey over the pink stains from before.
With a start, she realised she was sitting alone and smiling to herself, in this house that they had painstakingly saved up for and finally owned, each and every article carefully chosen and coordinated. Even the deep blue mug in her hand matched the rest of her kitchen utensils and the shade of their living room walls. As she looked at the last dregs of her tea and idly rotated it watching the small tea leaves swirling around the cardamom peels, she realised that she hated being alone for long.
The doorbell rang and she set down her mug and briskly walked to the door. As he came in grinning, hair still damp from his swim, she smiled again. His share of tea was waiting in the kitchen, still hot and giving out a heady fragrance. As she poured it out into his favourite black mug, she realised that there was enough to fill her mug halfway too. Mugs in hand, she walked back to the couch and sat beside him. “We should probably call your folks now, its been a while right?” he asked, vigorously toweling his head.
She nodded, smiled, and took another sip of her tea before reaching out for the phone.
How to make Cardamom Tea:
Bring 1/2 a cup of water to boil. Add black tea leaves (unflavoured) and 3 pods of crushed cardamom, and simmer until the flavour seeps in. To this, add 1.5 cups of low fat milk and bring to boil, stirring gently. Top up with 2 tsp of sugar. Stir well. Strain into your favourite mugs and drink hot.
Serves her, him and then some more for her.
I understand that my entry to last month’s Of Chalks and Chopsticks was less than satisfactory. Hope this makes up for that. Sending this off to Sra who is hosting this month’s Of Chalks and Chopsticks, an event kick-started by Aqua.