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1. sitting in cafe desert rain, sipping on that apricot tea on a lovely afternoon. with the spoon i swerve the warm concoction. the little apricot pieces play waltz with tea leaves in it.
its cold, but sun's rays stream in through the wide open windows. there's a bunch of local kids sitting around, being cool, chilling. some one is playing a guitar.
i am 'mainland' indian, so not many people are interested in me. But my companion is french, so she receives warm smiles. She is eating her favourite cookie. i must admit, its quite something. But I prefer sipping on some more varieties of teas before devouring those cookies.
Someone just came in having trekked the stok-kangri. we shake hands and swap stories. we laugh at our different accents - german, marathi, english, french - and ensuing miscommunication.

2. A 12 km stretch to a remote village in ladakh wasn't really a road. but no one told us. with the trusty pulsar, we trudged on steep slopes, dangerous turns and near absent traction. at a few places there had been land slides. its quite a thrill, riding over the debris.
but once the village came into view, we didnt heave a sigh of relief. we laughed hard with joy. remote villages in Ladakh aren't exactly strangers to tourism. as a matter of fact, they are used to rich white tourists. but unlike in some other hot tourist destination, this doesnt cause ladakhis to lose their decency upon seeing a bargaining cheaps-hunter indian.
We were greeted with hot steaming butter tea. it felt like heaven. a salty heaven. it did struck odd, tea to be salty. but the oddity was delightful. we were sitting in a small drawing room of a ladakhi family. their humble yet self confident demeanor is an inspiration. on a wall, ladakhi cutlery was neatly arranged. 2 walls had big windows. the fourth one had a TV which the toddler in the family, was intently watching.. when he wasnt intently watching us. he was more focused on us, and that made me smile. take that, TV.
We were sitting on exquisite rugs with traditional teapoy in front of us. we just didnt want to get out of the place ever. it was so pleasant there.. that cold evening, made warm with big hearts and hot tea. we finished off atleast 2 big teapots of butter tea that night. :P

3. at 2-3 am in the night at Drass. moon was hanging low, unmoving and bright.
Everyone stops here before the roads are opened again to srinagar. the small bus stand is turned into a urinal. small animals throng there, i guess they like the warmth there, they don't necessarily mind the smell.
Everyone also steps out in that freezing cold and steps into one of the numerous small tea shops. drivers always manage to find their bunch of friends. i made a few as we shared news of local election results, and drank tea in the victor's name. victor was from a village a few hours back. we had met a bunch of ppl waiting for him to return to his village post victory.
normal milk tea with biscuits. that warm sweet thing going down your throat, is just the right thing.

4. back in the busy city. too lazy to make my own tea.
and then... tea was a ruse. a strenuous ruse we held on dearly to build a tie. she liked tea. Hence, i loved tea. i learnt to make it as well, so that we may drink it at the same time, connected somehow through tea. foolish inanity of love for love. not knowing where to seek. getting wasted at ends to preserve that one end through which we think we are connected.
with realisation, anchors shift. from tea to love. from tea being an excuse to spend time with someone, one now needs someone to enjoy the tea well with.

long live tea.


AS said…

ya!tea is a common link that bonds matter whats the caste,creed or class..the ubiquitous tea bonds heart!
the description of Ladakh and Drass is quite good!
Clueless said…
Jinxie this 'entree' was truly gobble-worthy!! yumm :)
It was like I was there!
Ajinkya said…
thanx :D
gobble gobble.. :P

damn.. i want to sit down n write the ladakh stories once.. will try this weekend.. wish me luck :P
Ajinkya said…
thanx :D
gobble gobble.. :P

damn.. i want to sit down n write the ladakh stories once.. will try this weekend.. wish me luck :P
AS said…

ya!tea is a common link that bonds matter whats the caste,creed or class..the ubiquitous tea bonds heart!
the description of Ladakh and Drass is quite good!

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