There is a certain ritual I indulge in at mid-day, every day. Actually, it takes place around 4pm. I boil a cup of water in a steel saucepan, add a teaspoon or so of sugar to it, then a smidgen of chai tea masala, some fresh mint leaves and grated fresh ginger. As the water begins to boil, I add a teeny bit of black tea powder, then some milk. As the tea lightens in color and little ripples appear on the surface, I turn off the heat, place a steel lid over the pan and allow the tea to rest. In the interim, I open the pantry door, take out my favorite fried snack (Khatta Meetha mix), a few pieces of Math or Bajri Khakra, and place them all in a small bowl. I sieve the tea into my little IKEA cup, take the cup-n-saucer over to the breakfast table where my bowl of snacks sits, draw up my favorite oft-read book, sip and munch and read alongside.
These are my few minutes of bliss. It is my favorite time of the day, the little period of quiet when no questions intrude. No thoughts of dinner or life or career or relationships are entertained. I love the sharp tang of ginger as it makes its searing way down my throat. I love how it intersects with the cool mint and the fiery chai tea masala. I love how hot the tea is, temperature-wise and taste-wise. I love the crunch of the Khakra, the sweet-sour notes of the Khatta Meetha mix. I love my old books – James Herriot, Ruskin Bond. I love that my books date back to a life and time that have long passed the world by but I can savor those days during these sweet moments, 4pm every day. I don’t seek anything to stimulate my intellect, only that which can soothe and nourish it. In fact, there are only a few books that can do the job. James Herriot’s animal tales are sweet in their sensitivity, innocence and compassion. Ruskin Bond’s stories of Mussourie are hopelessly hopeful, full of loving sentiment and good cheer and beauty. I don’t seek much else during my tea time. I don’t ask to be supercharged or revved up.
I love the coziness of it all.
What are your favorite cozy-time books?