Teeing off with tea


Golf is a great teacher, they say. One thing it has taught me is how to make tea. For, rare is the wife who would rise early to fortify his man with a cuppa so he could whack the hell out of dew-dipped grass and a dimpled ball.

But I saw more in the simple chore — an opportunity to ingratiate my sleeping half. So I would make the tea for both of us. I would have mine and leave her in the flask. A few days into it came the compliment, “I can tolerate only one thing — your golf or your tea. Choice is yours.” Well, for me the choice was not difficult, for in those days life seemed an endless endeavour to achieve the single digit handicap. Thus, as days passed my golf improved but tea stayed where it was — pedestrian.
But when I hit the plateau ie, a handicap of 17, I looked around for a more substantial activity through which I could actualise my self. The thing that came to mind was tea making. No prize for guessing as to whom I turned for help. One day she watched my effort. In a jiffy I put the ingredient together and set it to boil. She tasted a spoonful and said, “You have two problems. One, you have no taste for tea and two, you are not methodical.”

I couldn’t figure out which part was more crushing. Having savoured all kinds of tea in the hurly burly of the job of a cop, one gulped down whatever tea was available. One never came to judge the stuff and went by the mantra, “All tea is good tea”.
What really amazed me was the second part. That there could be method to tea making one found hard to swallow. But watching her in the act I realised my mistake. To help me she reduced the chore into easy-to-follow steps. The steps one learnt but mastering the precise proportion of the ingredients and the timing when each was to be added took time.

The red-letter day for my tea is best summed up in the diary entry of the day. It reads: I achieved in tea making which is equivalent to a single digit handicap in golf. I was at the course when I got her SMS, “Tea was good”.

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