Tea is one of the most popular beverages across the world. In our country it goes without saying that each morning remains an incomplete part of the day for most of the people if a cup of tea is not served with breakfast and it is all the same for the chap right now composing this article. Tea is so vastly consumed and applauded by people that it has crossed the parameters of a mere drink and has entered the realms of familial arguments, political debates, economic discussions, romantic humming and there are many more confabs which take place while sipping at teacups. It would not be out of place to add that tea and coffee are inseparably bonded with the lifestyle of people all over the globe even though this write-up is mainly based on tea, the favorite drink for Bangladeshi people to begin the day.
Tea and cookies are often found supplementing one another like petrol and lubricants. Some people are glad enough just taking a cup of tea while some other people prefer to take a bite at cookies, cakes, loaves or some other supportive solid items. Dipping cookies into teacups is a widely practiced habit among lots of people while there are consumers who like to chew biscuits without soaking them.
Tea is made of fine tea leaves, milk powder and sugar in most of the households and offices. Health conscious people in most cases prefer to take tea without sugar. On the other hand, there are a great deal of people who drink tea with sugar but they avoid milk powder for reasons best known to them. Tea stalls in most parts of Bangladesh make and serve tea to customers with condensed milk. Condensed milk is used on a widespread scale in restaurants and food courts in our country but it is not so popular with housewives.
We often see people getting involved in heated arguments with each other over social, interpersonal, political, international affairs and other issues while taking tea at homes, at corporate venues, at universities, shopping malls and so on. "Raising storms in teacups" is a well-known phrase which stands for people's habit of getting excited during chitchats while teacups are placed in front of all participants of gossips and conversations. Even we watch on television channels there are teacups placed on the desk when discussants express their opinions while attending talk shows.
Some people take tea right after waking up from sleep before having regular morning wash. This kind of tea is called "bed-tea" which I have learnt by watching television dramas. Later on when I asked my family superiors about it they told me that bed-tea is taken to dispel drowsiness from eyes after a long slumber. People who suffer from acute constipation regard tea virtually like a medication which helps them, according to statements from some of my closest guys, to ease their bowels each morning. A humorous friend of mine a few days ago gave a very interesting name to constipation. He named it "bowel bureaucracy" which can be dissolved only with a hot cup of tea. I believe there are lots of people who have been benefited by morning tea in this way through clearing up their intestinal bureaucracy with this unique drink.
Tea is taken in the evening too. Actually there is no particular time for sipping at a cup of tea when it is preferable to someone. However, some people avoid taking tea at night with the trepidation that it might cause disturbance to regular sleeping hours. On the other hand, students are frequently seen taking tea at night because they have to remain awake till midnight during exams. Besides, some women don't take tea with worries about having their complexion darkened!
Tea is an instrumental drinkable component for youngsters while they learn the initial lessons of romance for the first time in their life, particularly among teenagers. Boys and girls in colleges and universities pass romantic hours on their campuses or in food outlets speaking their hearts out while foaming teacups silently witness the amorous looks on their faces. Enormous volumes of love stories have evolved over steamy teacups and perhaps many couples ended up their relationship in the same style on a sad note. It would be difficult to find lovebirds in our country who did not exchange their feelings from the core of their hearts while teacups gushed out vapor around the table.
Apart from romance, revolutionary ideas and shattering watchwords have been produced by people through ages across the world while tea and cigarettes were most trustworthy companions. Immortal Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky said in his book Notes from Underground, "Let the world go to hell but I should always have my tea." It shows the author's intense leaning towards tea under all circumstances.
The charm of tea in lazy hours is admitted by esteemed American author Henry James too. He once said, "There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." In the same vein British science fictionist Jasper Fforde stated, "And finally, there is no problem on Earth that can't be ameliorated by a hot bath and a cup of tea". These citations from prominent authors vividly exhibit the attraction for tea among intellectually illuminated icons. A cup of tea is so universal a thing that it can be unhesitatingly served irrespectively to allies and enemies. And when tea is offered to us by someone we adore, it comes like manna from heaven.
The writer is a columnist for The Asian Age
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