My P4 Speech at Toastmasters:

'My Cup of Tea'

It was a cold winter morning..the dew had just settled on the wild leaves…the soil
was still damp from the heavy rains a couple of days back. Robert Bruce, a trader,
adventurer and a part of the British East India company had   somehow managed
to befriend the Sing Po Tribal king.

King: So how do u like the Kingdom of Assam?..

Robert: This area is so beautiful with lush green trees and grassy meadows,
streams with crystal clear water. It is very different from Calcutta. The mist and
continuous rains, add to the chilly weather…

King; Have this drink, it might warm you up a bit..It’s a local favorite.

Robert: …WOW..What is this…it’s got an uncanny resemblance to Chinese tea and
yet it’s so much more vigorous and earthy. Do you grow tea here??

King: Let’s just say it’s an ancient tradition and well kept secret..

Well the rabbit was out of the hat, and Robert knew he had struck gold. At once
he sent word of this new discovery to the officials because this was surely make
him a superhero back home.

But nothing was done - perhaps because the East India Company had a monopoly
on the tea trade from China and, as they were doing very nicely, probably saw no
reason to spend time and money elsewhere.

But in 1833, everything changed. The company lost its monopoly and suddenly
woke up to the fact that India might prove a profitable alternative

This changed the Tea History forever…

Toastmaster of the day..fellow toastmasters and welcome guests..

Assam Tea …is grown near sea level. Harvesters pick the tea leaves twice; mainly
focusing on the second time because it is during that time when the tea is at its
finest point. These leaves have a distinct glossiness over its wide green leaves
which sets it apart from the others. It is a type of black tea, unique because of its
strong, rich, malty taste that is known to help wake people up in the morning. It is
processed by a combination of heating and fermentation. It is this process that
gives the tea its smooth aroma and its unique, malty flavor.

Well who over here loves to drink Masala Chai?

After a boring afternoon, staring at the computer screen…a welcome cup of tea is
like water to a travelling Bedouin. The supreme combination of scent, spice and
sweetness served in beautiful glass tumbler greet the palate and get to action at
once like a paramedics team on an injured patient.

The savory samosas, blessed bhajjis and the piping pakodas we have, remind
us that there is no bread without butter, no burger without French fries and no
pizza without cheese.

If you look closely, you will see a Picasso or a Van Goph in every chai wallah and
the spices act as paint.

With such skill and expertise, they stir the boiled milk, add the tea leaves , spices
and sugar and pour the smoking concoction into the glass, that we are left awe

Of course , The spices vary by region and preference, but they typically include a
combination of the following: cinnamon, cardamom, most flavorful when crushed
just before use, cloves best when whole, ginger, best when fresh.

And how can one forget about the way they are served..

As a Mumbaiite, I was always accustomed to the little glass tumblers but my trip
to Calcutta a few years made me fall in love with the little earthen cup in which
tea is sold.

Not only does it look and feel so exotic but due to the cup the tea gets a
wonderful earthy blend that a normal cup just cannot replicate.

These cups are thrown on to the ground and shattered when the cup is emptied,
and they shortly return to the earth from which they came. (Just like all things

But where ever I have my tea, there is no tea like tea at home.

Tea drinking to me is a ritual…and without my morning cup of tea, I feel like a
man denied of my basic human rights..

My first sip of tea, rejuvenates me and send a thousand foot solders to personally
greet every brain cell in my head.

I boil the water, add the tea leaves and let the wonderful flavors of the leaves
mingle, infuse their magic. After a few minutes that seem like a lifetime…I stir the
the tea and add just a little milk, and observe how beautifully the 2 ingredients
circle the cup like a ritual dance. Ultimately, the white milk becomes one with the
black tea resulting in a beautiful reddish brown hue.

To conclude let me recite these beautiful words about tea:

'Tea pot is on, the cups are waiting, Favorite chairs anticipating, No matter
what I have to do, My friend there's always time for you'

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