Tea flows in people’s veins
ISLAMABAD, December 1, 2010: Taking a look at my surroundings while taking tea from a kiosk at Saidpur Village made me realise that this drink has steadily penetrated into the routine lives of people so much so that one could hardly think of spending a day without at least a cup or two.
It could have been a convincing argument for me that the awesome surroundings of the facility has attracted so many people to the place just for the sake of tea only if I have witnessed any other tea spot where such a large number of people were not present.
The kiosks set up at different spots of the city offering ‘karak’ (strong) tea are crowded with people throughout the day who enjoy sips of hot tea while discussing various matters, most commonly political updates.
It usually happens that political discussions over a cup of tea turn into heated debates and often end up in exchange of hot words. This is the reason that many kiosks and tea shops have displayed a notice: ‘Political discussions are not allowed’.
Not only political discussions but many other issues like national security, a recent incident or any personal matter are discussed over a cup of tea. Sometimes the prevalence of tea culture in the country gives an impression that every discussion needs to be held over a cup of tea otherwise it would end on nothing but futility.
There was a time when drinking tea was considered to be a fashionable habit, but now it has become a national habit. It has interwoven in our culture. Morning, afternoon, evening or night, a cup of tea would work where no other drink could.
According to an estimate, tea worth 220 million dollars is taken by Pakistanis annually which is an undoubtedly huge amount and shows the addiction of people for this drink. One could not identify that which class use this drink the most as ‘one cup of tea’ is a sentence which is used in every office, home, kiosk, shop, market, hospital to name a few.
However the lower of lower middle class is fond of tea which contains abundance of tea leaves and sugar while the middle class and upper class mostly go for low or without sugar.
Besides that other varieties of tea are also liked by the people that include cinnamon tea, salty tea and cardamom tea.
Moreover the styles of taking tea are also different in different classes. In the kiosks and small restaurants (known as truck driver’s hotels), people take this drink while utilising the saucer as they believe it not only helps in moderating the temperature but also adds taste to the tea. It is not only that they drink from the saucer but they also make a typical noise while sipping which has become a trademark for such places.
While taking the last sip from my cup of tea, I am thinking that whatever the circumstances are a cup of tea has become an integral part of our culture which doesn’t seem to end in near future.