With the sun training its arsenal at me, post a packed metro ride, it’s a rare morning that sees me smiling. Today was one such. That’s because I spent my first hour in college sipping ice tea while reading Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. If you were born after 1980, it is likely you have discovered the pleasures of the latter (and if not, I really don’t know what the world is coming to, anymore). It’s possible of course, that you haven’t sampled the D School Ice Tea yet- a loss as big as any. When it’s ordinary, the tea's a wonderful antidote to the Delhi summer. When well made, it can inspire poetry. But commonplace or heavenly, it has in oodles, what other packaged and branded varieties sorely lack: character.
On any given day however (and especially if you are a first-timer) you may have to go through the following, to get a glimpse of that famous character.
|Iced tea, Courtesy: JP Tea Stall, D School|
Step two: You look around and spot two people leisurely making their way through their drinks. The boys is wearing a loose t-shirt, and is periodically tucking in his long unkempt hair behind his ear. The kurta- clad girl has her hair tied in a tight bun, and her eyes are heavily lined with kohl. They are discussing something fervently, throwing around words like emancipation and feminisation. You silently will them to shut up and finish.
Step three: Once the glasses are returned, Bhaiyya takes them to a tap attached to the ground and half-fills them with water. Then unconcernedly gives the glasses the slightest shake. The glass cleaning ritual is over. You pray that the previous users maintained better hygiene than what appearances suggested- that they were free of flu inducing virus. Or worse, tuberculosis
Step four: Avoid voicing your concerns aloud. Reactions to such behaviour may range from Bhaiyya shaking his head disapprovingly, to his clientele contemptuously branding you a fuccha.
Step five: Wait for Bhaiyya to work his magic. Again, stop yourself from thinking about the source of water for the drink or the places where Bhaiyya’s hands went before he used them to dexterously break lumps of ice to put in the glass.
Step six: Behold the glass, admire the colour. Use the straw to stir the ice a little in order to cool the beverage down. Smell the tea.
Step seven: Take a sip. Wait to be surprised. Every single time.