Saturday, March 1, 2014

My black tea anecdote

I grew up drinking regular milk tea till somewhere along the way I started drinking black tea without sugar. I think it was those Indian Airline flights. The air-hostess would walk down the aisle with a pot of black tea and black coffee and then return after a half-hour with milk, by which time such tea that hadn't spilled on your shirt because of turbulence had turned quite cold and when mixed with the lukewarm milk, was very difficult to send down the hatch.

Anyway, I began to drink my tea black and once I got used to the slightly bitter and acidic taste of unsweetened black tea, I found that I no longer relished the with-milk version. This would occasionally be a problem in the industrial areas that I frequented, especially when I would visit someone's factory. Bombay's protocol demands the serving and drinking of 'cuttings', miniscule cups of tea which taste like very old tea leaves boiled in very stale milk for a very long time, which is pretty much what it is, but I soon evolved the ability to quickly swallow the foul brew without gagging. Whenever possible, though, I'd try to get my fix of my good old black tea, no milk no sugar

On one such outing, I landed up at an Udipi restaurant and, encouraged by the warm and welcoming manner of the waiter (he asked me "kyaa chahiye?" instead of "kyaa mangta hai?", showing himself to be a man of culture and breeding), I asked him if I could be served black tea.

"Of course" he beamed and went into the kitchen to place the order. He returned a moment later with a slightly apologetic look.

"Cook is asking, black tea means what?"

"Oh, simple" I told him "make the tea but don't put milk, and don't put sugar"

He smiled benevolently and went back into the kitchen to relay my instructions.

And returned after a moment, looking even more apologetic

"Cook is asking, should he put tea leaves?"

"Yes, please put tea leaves" I told him.

My order was properly executed. The son, when I told him this, laughed and said the guy was trolling me but I don't think he was. Do you?

2 comments:

ravi said...

Reminds me of this incident which happened in a Udupi restaurant in Hyderabad, which I frequented for my morning breakfast and filter kaapi fix.

A firang software dude came in and asked for Black Coffee, he was told to get the coupon, he bought the coupon and he was given a full glass of Black Coffee.
He thanked the guy at the counter and took a sip and the next instant, he kept the glass on the counter and walked out.

The guy at the counter was flabbergasted and was looking for any fly or cockroach in the glass, I asked him whether he gave him the usual sugared, syrupy decoction concentrate to which they add the boiling milk to, he replied in affirmative.
I told him that he should have skipped the sugar, they ran after the firang, dragged him back and gave him another glass of Black Coffee, he took a sip and looked pleased.
He was reprimanded for not asking for sugarless Black Coffee. :D

Saumya said...

You just hurt the sensibilities of the Udupi restaurant chef by telling how not to make tea Naren. But the erudite keep learning and I am sure the "what do you want" guys learns much from your request.

Imagine him asking the next guy who comes in whether he wants black tea, and that guy getting all offended "Kyon mein kaala chai kyon piyoon?"
"Nahin saab. Kuch log peethe hein."
"MEin kyoon? MEin kala lagta hoon kya?"
"Nahin saaab"

The next customer comes in and our waiter goes brusquely" Kya maangta hai ?"

And so it goes!