Saturday, 3 June 2017

Tea or Coffee

“Tea or coffee?”

I turned to my sister out of habit. Any question directed at me was to be answered by her. I was the little one in the family who didn’t know the good from bad, or the better from good. But she always knew what to do.

“Coffee for both of us.” She chirped. Of course I knew her choice was the same, but I still had to make sure every time. What if she changed her mind after all?

The waiter departed with a nod. Dangling legs and bobbing heads, we cheerfully munched our way through our breakfast waiting for that cup of joy.

Coffee was special. It was a luxury in comparison to the regular tea back home. Its aroma had a way of wedging right through into your brain and settling there. It had a taste that lingered in your tongue. It had a feel like no other. It was amazing.

Soon enough the waiter returned with the two tiny steel tumblers of steaming hot coffee. Just the like of any other roadside snack shops. There it was, that sweet beverage waiting to meet my taste buds. And meet they did, when the first sip landed on the tongue with a taste of unforeseen deceit.

My cringed face turned to my sister yet again, this time asking for an explanation.

“It’s bitter! I can’t drink this!” I cried.

How could this happen? Coffee had always been a treat, and that was how it was supposed to be. What wrong had I done to deserve such tastelessness in it? Perhaps the waiter had made a mistake, and it wasn’t coffee after all? But why wasn’t my sister feeling cheated too?

“The sugar’s at the bottom, dummy. Just mix it up and it’ll be alright.” Said my sister.

 I looked back at my coffee that looked perfect but didn’t taste so. And much as I shook the tumbler, the coffee didn’t taste like it should have. Gulping down that one cup, with its bitterness smirking down at me, was a feat I never wanted to try again.
That evening, when we were back home reclining over the evening snacks, there was freshly brewed tea before us yet again. You know how you take some things for granted when you are used to them? Here was our dear cup of tea fallen victim to that.

All this time I’d failed to acknowledge this cup of perfection, refreshing to the mind and soothing to the soul. Unlike coffee, tea was never bitter, never difficult to gulp down even when sugarless. It was rejuvenating and right.

It was as if that little tiff with coffee had been a revelation to how I’d loved tea all along. There’s no denying that coffee had lured many a men. But tea wasn’t of that kind. People tended to walk right past its charm. You had to pause and discover its magic yourself.

The next time we were out again in a fancy restaurant, it looked like they'd provide a promising coffee unlike my last disappointing episode.

“Tea or coffee?” They asked.

I did not have to look at my sister, for I’d found a magic she hadn’t yet discovered. And so, with an unwavering pride of finally making my own choice, I answered.

“A cup of tea please.”

Linking with #FridayReflections

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