"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

Tea For Two.. Or Three..


We had spent the weekend in Mysore.
Monday morning required an early start to continue our tour.


Though, as the song so neatly puts it:
“I like a nice cup of tea in the morning.”

Normally, I am woken each day by my kindly house-boy’s greeting of:
“Good morning Papa. You sleep OK?”
He carries a large mug of this wonderful drink.
Its absence would imply some sort of crisis.

Before living in India, I assumed the subcontinent would be awash with tea.
I was mistaken.
Coffee is now the more popular drink in India.
When not at home, trying to get a cup of tea any time outside of breakfast and “tea-time” can prove challenging.
Even ordering early morning tea in a tourist hotel brings surprises to the unwary.

In India, tea powder (finely ground lea leaves), milk and copious amounts of sugar are all boiled together in the preparation of tea.
Should you not wish to court diabetes or dental disaster with this decidedly caustic brew of syrupy tannins, firm instruction to room service are required:
“Please. Sugar Separate!” 

When the order is delivered to your room the consequences of a different tea culture are made manifest.

The spoons are often enormous –
– And the cups invariably minute.

My solution is to order tea for two – or three.
Occasionally this stirs the waiters to peer with puzzlement around the hotel room, in search of my early morning guests.
But more often, it is merely attributed to further eccentricities in the firangi.


The tea, by the way, was excellent!

4 responses

  1. Toffeeapple

    An interesting point about the availability of tea. I recently read a book called ‘Curry’ by Lizzie Collingham, wherein she describes how the British had to teach the Indians about tea and to encourage them to drink it.

    May 14, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    • Yes, it was the British who had, and still have, the habit. Later they became suppliers, to help cover their costs!

      May 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm

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