Before you confuse the title with Tomorrowland, the music festival in Belgium let me be categorical by emphasizing, it is all about the tea and something that I can’t do without for me to function normally. If I don’t have my shot(s), the withdrawal symptoms are in the extreme ranging from a throbbing headache, nausea eventually resulting in vomiting. This happened once and I have not tried to challenge my routines since even though I am well versed with highs such as alcohol, smoke, pills(more on that in another installment). Tea is the elixir of life because it is the pep and zing that I crave and lets me function to the best of my abilities ready to take on the world. Mom in her times used to guzzle around 25 cups a day in her prime but her genes have slightly rubbed off on me as I partake around seven a day including office. Pleasant surprise that there was an article on my favorite beverage in The Sunday Times and that was all that I needed as inspiration.
Right from the time my parents were working, we have stuck with the same brew and that is Tata Tea Gold but tea comes in various avatars to cater to different clientele. Green or herbal tea is a mild concoction used for weight loss and mild rejuvenation. The Indian Chai is the quintessential variety that is sold across general stores, thelas(roadside stalls) and shops. Black tea is a stronger brew which helps in limiting plaque. Darjeeling is the crown jewel of teas in India contributing one percent to the total production making India the second largest producer of tea in the world and making Darjeeling tea one of the most expensive specially for the first flush. Iced tea has found it’s place in cocktails like Long Island Iced Tea and if you just want to indulge your senses then one can experiment with different flavors such as Peach, Lemon, Mint, Apple etc.
Tea is the most popular beverage in the world surpassed by carbonated drinks alone but there are fundamental differences with coffee. Leaving aside the bias, coffee is a stronger brew, is more cumbersome in preparation, provides a comparatively swifter rush and is more prevalent in the south of the country rather than the rest. Tea is big business in the sub continent with women accounting for 50% of the workforce. The tea industry directly employs around 1.1 million and generates income for approximately 10 million according to 2012 estimates. Tata has given India a global footprint with the acquisition of Tetley in the year 2000 for 305 million Sterling. Dilmah is another brand associated with Sri Lanka with their marketing through the cricket team giving it eyeballs. Tea is also looking at a renaissance of sorts with shops catering to the tea going crowd through the QSR or Quick Servicing Restaurants such as Chaayos, Chai Point and luxury or boutique hotels joining the bandwagon.
This love affair with tea surpasses my relationship with my wife, lest you start having doubts, and I intend to continue on this merry trip for as long as I can imagine and beyond