The long borne wish was going to be fulfilled today (early) morning. Finally, after years of longing and laziness, I was to visit that one tea stall which had been everyone’s recommendation. The ‘Let-us-not-name-it’ Tea Stall spoiled it for me(as it would for any other chai-lover as well)
What you see here is Disappointment objectified.
What the tea-sellers there were were Disdain personified.
After battling the restless crowd, 20-30 minutes of never-ending wait, rounds of calling out “Bhaiya, Bhaiya…(with my voice rising in a crescendo)”, sweating profusely, what I get is this…
This might look like any other ‘chai’ but if only there was some way to convey its taste!
First taste is certainly the last taste!
And the ‘band makkhan’ and ‘samosa’…
Let me put it this way- The sole motivation to finish it up was that we paid 60 rupees for them!!!
When something reaches its peak of popularity, the quality is bound to go down. There is no other way, no evasion.
To avoid degradation, the solution is to be the best, but, in isolation.
Found a commendable tea stall? Do not tell it to everyone! ‘SAVE’ IT FROM BEING POPULAR AND HENCE RUINED. As Kahlil Gibran puts it-
“Travel and tell no one, live a true love story and tell no one, live happily and tell no one, people ruin beautiful things.”
Oh, you have half an hour for the next lecture. Come with us.”
“Lecture completed? So, come join us…”
“Waiting for someone? Wait here.”
“You topped the test? Treat, treat!”
“Whose turn is it today for…?”
“Where are we going?”
The place in subject is one.
From at a distance it might look like an ordinary shack, but lo and behold; advance nearer, grab a tea- 5 rupees for the normal one, or the ‘special’ one costing just a rupee more- sit cosily on the stony seat and look around soaking in the ambience.
The person behind this all, the gratified owner of the stall, sells not just tea(lemon tea, samosa, gulab jamun, launglatta…) but a catalyst for the stimulation of ideas.
Gather some friends, grab a glass, or the ‘kulhadd‘, of tea and let your mind go for a swirl. Talks ranging from how the professor from the previous lecture dressed up today to the deepest deliberations on the Bacon’s essays, everything is ‘served’ here.
You can boast your generosity, or show some pity, by paying up for your friends’ tea as well(of course after a lot of debate as to who would end up paying for it- something which is hardly thought of beforehand).
Or with supreme efficacy, evade from paying up for the tea this one time by reminding them how you once paid in the past or by promising to do so in the near future.
Moreover, even if you have no one to chat to/discuss with/ share your tea with, you can indulge in even engaging an activity- EAVESDROPPING!
Again, grab a tea, sit cosily on the stony seat and look around and overhear all the conversations within your earshot.
You will, as per my recollection and experience, hear talks ranging from how Rahul should have batted the other day to the nuances of running the government; from Socrates to Shankaracharya ; from Marx to Manto; from Premchand to Paulo Coehlo; from Basketball to Badminton; from concerns over almost flunking a test to strategies for topping the exams…
If Heavens be more magnanimous, you might even spot a professor or two or even more approaching towards the stall. You can pounce upon the opportunity to initiate a discourse with them on any of the intellectual topics(or even the trending ones like Padmaavat); and, as a bonus, might(rather, definitely) save your money, as the big-hearted professors would promptly offer to pay for it.
If none of these- no friends to fret over the payment, eavesdropping on random conversations, fortunate guest appearances by professors- you can just sit back, with the tea in hand, and marvel at how some water, milk, tea leaves, sugar, and ginger mixed in a divine proportion create the most ethereal potion of all time…