Firdaus .. translates to ‘Paradise’ and to me the surrounding makes a difference to how your Tea will taste 🙂 and so does the ‘state of mind’. About the latter we will ponder over some other time.

So does this sound strange?
Well, experiences make you who you are .. and experiences make my cuppa too 🙂

I know I have re-iterated the words that the Gurus of Tea have explained in books, in conferences and in seminars – the source, the tea leaves, the method of storage, water, the method of Infusion, the utensil, all of it eventually makes a perfect cuppa but one thing that you can be sure of is this – if your surrounding doesn’t whisper ‘peace & harmony’, the cup will taste like stale water 😉

I remember reading in a book written by Aaron Fisher where he wrote “Quietude is perhaps most important aspect of the Way of Tea.
If one is busy chatting and the mind is running, then which part of oneself is enjoying the tea?”

The conversation that you have with that cuppa & yourself is that which will lead to the connect, the grace, the time for introversion.
I experienced all of this and much more when I was in ‘firdaus’ (which is Kashmiri language) translates into ‘paradise’, when I was in Lidderwat, at a height of 10,000 feet where for miles at a stretch there were just whispering pine trees, wild horses, happy daisies, lush green meadows, sound of the gushing Jhelum, pure & pristine. The thoughts were far away from the world of dust & chaos. An occasional ‘salaam’ from a passerby shepherd followed by intrigue & then a smile was the only source of contact with a human being.

A moment that will be mine forever was when I was offered a glass of Tea by an old lady, the mother of a young boy who was grazing his ponies one sunny crisp cold morning as I trekked through mountains, rugged.
That particular glass of tea was made with so much of love, that which reflected in her eyes. It tasted divine 🙂 To think I never have Tea with milk & sugar but I felt the love and I wrapped my fingers around ‘warmth’ and I sipped life .. I was in sync with every drop that trickled in. So I sat on the lush green dew soaked grass, feeling the sun’s rays, hearing the whistling thrush, surrounded by towering mountains, rows of pine trees and an ease that I had never experienced ever.

I breathed in so so deep! That’s when I sipped in ‘Quietude‘ ..



Imagine .. Create .. Infuse

20140713-001923-1163012.jpgTo delve into the mysteries of the mind, find an opening. For explorations of Flavors .. let the palate touch, feel, imagine, dream, go into a trance, slowly arise, realize, let your eyes smile and then reach out for more ..

Many moons ago I asked a dear friend, an accomplished Chef, who lives many nautical miles away, where kangaroo and kookaburra are a part of his life as the koel and the tea estate are to mine … I slipped in a question not knowing then, that his imagination would be catalyst of a new infusion unfolding into a reality. I asked him if he sipped anything other than beer only to be surprised that he enjoyed Tea too. I slowed the pace and with baited breath asked ‘is it a Tea bag that you dunk.’ And he said ‘no, it’s the most beautiful flower infusions that I buy from this small shop in the neighbourhood to serve in my restaurant.’ With a smile that smoothened that one line of worry which comes in with the word ‘tea bag’, I asked, ‘ so if you wanted to sip that one cup of Tea, right now, what would it be, irrespective whether it exists in this world or not.’

20140713-085227-31947442.jpgIn silence I could imagine the keyboard going clickty click and it was a matter of few seconds, that the answer appeared that said, “I would love to sip an infusion that looks like saffron, smells like rose and tastes like vanilla.” I imagined, and I crafted and I shot, and I sipped and I shared and I loved! The answer made me realize once again that one good fact of life .. you got to unleash the chains that bind you, so that your palate can dance to the rhythm divine. Its a circle. To explore, the mind has to be free, and only once your mind is free will you want to explore and for your mind to be free you have to sit in silence more than often and tap into the Core 🙂 Give yourself a chance to sip, to savour, to Experience. Until you do, you will never know.

Just ‘Be’

Anandini Tea Blends ~ Sparkling radiant yellow liq - 10200844123684856

Unpretentious, true, real, you.
Just ‘be’ ..

Let the essence stay, allow the core to exist, sprinkle ‘delicacy’ and step back, wait, let the other absorb and then let the eyes do the talking ~ that goes for Tea 🙂

When infused, let the ‘Two leaf & a bud’ speak rather than ‘pot pourri’. Let it not be a pale yellow liquid but a cup that breathes life into you.



Reflections in a Tea cup

Reflections in a Tea cup

Reflections in a Tea cup

My first blog .. it begins with you ‘my Guru’. Shatt Shatt Pranam ..  For those of my friends who know not what that means .. it means ‘i bow to you with hands folded in sheer respect and reverence’ and thats exactly how i feel for the one who has helped me dream, create ‘me’, my foundation .. my ‘neev’ and has helped me grow, nurturing my heart and my soul, helping me to discern, to focus, to value time and live in ‘now’, the ‘present’. I hold close the earthenware filled with the yellow gold at intervals and i gaze out into the open, my eyes a little blurry with sheer gratitude And with him in mind, i begin this journey of sharing my thoughts with that cup of Tea that has always and will always be my soul companion. What follows with that one sip is peace within, a connect to the core. If in a way, i connect to you via this sunshine in a cup, well happiness will follow  🙂 This isn’t about philosophy nor is it bout the technical aspects of Tea but the reflection of Life in a cup. Zen experienced while being in one, in sync that which i call the ‘elixir of life’, the two leaf and a bud.

Tea, photography, life, emotions, thoughts, ideas, solitude, writings, fountain pens, oranges, fire place, fire flies, sunsets, dark nights, Bach & Mohan Kannan, sunrise, chameleons, larks, ladybirds, steaming cuppas, snow clad mountains, pin drop silence, pine leaves crushed, walks in the wood, wading through shallow rivers, bites into crisp green apples, fresh baked sachertorte, flowers dried new infusions, taste, feel, smell, touch .. every single thing that makes me dream, makes me want to live, makes me give it my best ..

A Sensorial Journey this is going to be .. Stay close 🙂

~ * ~

 Photograph courtesy ~ My Guru Anil Abhimanyu Sharma.