Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Drink of Champions

The current state of my kitchen—which has no stove—is largely not as much of bother as one might expect. Lunch I eat at office; dinner I order from outside. For breakfast, I have with me, from my last trip to Cal, a number of disks of a desiccated Bandel Cheese—a delicious smoked cheese which is possibly the Anglo-Indian community’s best kept secret. An overnight soak in some water and, paired with bread, it’s quite a nice, hassle-free breakfast.

However, one thing that I do sorely miss though is my morning chai.

I am, it must be said, a bit of a chai addict. Forced to chose one beverage, over all else, chai’d win hands down. It’s a bit of no-brainer really: I’m not a Coke-guzzler; you know the sort who has a can to ‘wash down’ his meal. And coffee, well, it would come in second but a very distant second to chai. I mean there’s coffee all around us today but in my crucial formative years, coffee for me was a somewhat rare drink. In fact, the very thought of any hot beverage other than chai being drunk was so odd for my family that coffee was only to be used to prepare cold coffee (which I quite like, by the way). Till today, on trips to those coffee shop thingys, I don’t quite know what to order and always end up eating a sandwich or a muffin just so that I don’t look stupid while all the cool kids sip on their lattes or what not.

Now, you might say, why don’t I order the tea. The coffee shop thingys have tea.

That would be a stupid thing to say.

Tea, ladies and gentleman, is on no account to be confused with chai. Tea is a gay drink made by inexplicably adding milk to tea liquor in a cup. Chai is made by affording no differential treatment to the milk and boiling it along with the liquor. The difference, people, is phenomenal. Chai is a strong, red-blooded man’s drink which possibly has more caffeine than coffee. Tea is, well, just stupid—a wussy little drink with roughly the same amount of character as a doorknob. Why have less caffeine when you can have more? Why simmer the tea when you can boil the shit of out? I mean, I can understand from where the coffee drinkers are coming from. I don’t particularly like it myself, but I can respect anyone who does. But why in the word would you have tea once you’ve had chai? To me, really, it doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense.