In retrospect, the moments are still vivid and arose the same sensation of warmth I am feeling now. I am talking about the moment of making tea for my friend, who later became my girlfriend. This was during my days of stay at 1 BHK in my bachelorhood along with my eldest brother in Bengaluru (a more lingual name) then known as Bangalore. I was studying my Bachelors in Engineering at one of the best colleges in Karnataka BMSCE (visited it a couple of days back with one of my classmates)
Agnostic to the art of making tea- I used to prepare it, as that’s the only staple drink I had with some homemade snacks from my native Bhadravathi (a small town near shivamogga district ie further south towards of the Karnataka from Bengaluru) in the state of Karnataka – southern state of India. It’s been almost 14 years since this conjecture, enticing me to write about the nostalgic moments of initial Engineering days, triggered by my colleague in office, a few hours ago when he asked about how to make a native filter coffee. So it’s a misnomer in contrast to the title of this blog, but that’s the emotion which was like a deja vu moment for me and hence the blog at this point of time. The question is, what’s the relationship between tea and my girlfriend? Well, it requires some preamble and here it is…
Being from a modest middle-class family and an introvert by nature, after much sweat had gotten into a top 3 Engineering college, and so I had to do well in my studies to get a job. So again I had pulled myself up to get a 75+ percentage in my 1st semester, but to my dismay ended up in 62% with a flunked subject i.e “Strength of Materials” – part of civil engineering. I was devastated and thought there is no light after this dungeon of failures (However a re-evaluation of my exam helped me get through with no hassles of re-exam – would have been a black mark!). That’s when I met samita* (offcourse it’s a female name!), a student of my eldest brother (An IITian from chennai MSc Physics – aspiring IAS officer at that point of time; was teaching in Jain college V V puram and tutor at Universal Academy). It was my brother who introduced me to her as I was most of the time alone in my 1 BHK and moreover was very much depressed because of my failure in 1st semester itself, contrary to my father’s expectations to top the college, which was by far never in my mind. So I made some of the friends in college by the start of the second semester only because of samita*, that’s the effect of the relationship between tea and girlfriend. In a way, she taught me to make new friends and incepted the idea that spending time with friends is not a futile time. I was engrossed in always becoming the best studious student and topping the college or at least get a 75+ percentage so that I am eligible to get a job in my final semester. After the Year 2000 Y2K problem landing a job itself was arbitrary and I was getting to be nowhere near to that goal, failing in the initial step itself.. So why was she behind me trying to even spend time with me, with such a naive boy? ; that’s the question which still baffles me but I think my role was just to be of a friend listening to an alcohol drunkard dipped in misery. Her father had expired recently (maybe a couple of weeks) before meeting me and I was vent out medium to bring her to balance.
What more I can say about her, she was most pretty, tall and not to say most appealing to me and I became the die-hard fan of her thoughts, English accent, and her down-to-earth nature. She would especially like the tea I used to prepare with my innate special process and also ingredients learned from my mother and brother with a pinch of vanilla from our own garden in Bhadravathi. My father had practiced doing pollination of the vanilla flowers which later grow into beads, which are dried and powdered to use for various food preparations. Sometimes she would just drop in to have this Special Red Label Tea from Vijayanagar, a couple of miles from my room in her scooty (A two-wheeler motorcycle). As a matter of fact, she did not turn up for a week or so and so I phoned her home but she was unavailable. My eyes were on a stalk on seeing her waiting on the open stairs of my old rusty room in N. R. colony as I least expected her presence and I felt like how could this happen on my birthday!!
As usual, I prepared the special chai (Nomenclature of an Indian tea) for her and we talked for a long time and she offered to clean the books on the shelf with a surprise gift in her small bag. It was that special day she revealed that her father had left her and she was in great despair, although there was no dearth for money in her family. I was moved by her intimacy to have shared such true feeling and So she had become my close friend, but deep in my heart, I fell in love with her and hence the Conscience tale of tea ………..
To be continued………………………
*samita : Name changed