My first few months living in India after spending the last 11 years away have been very educational. One of the things I’ve learnt is the art of ordering tea. Regardless of where the ordering is being done (roadside tea stall, coffee shop, fancy hotel), just saying “tea” is not enough. Specific instructions must also be added. These instructions can be fairly straightforward, like “less sugar” or “extra strong”, or very complicated like “add 3 partly opened cardamom pods, take them out after 3 minutes, then add the sugar”.
If one has no specific preference for how the tea is made, it is advisable to add arbitrary ornamentation with adjectives like “special” or “extra special”.
“What would you like boss?”
“Actually give me a bumper chai.”
“Ok, one bumper chai. Anything else?”
“Do you have any special snacks?”
“No sir, we only have special tea.”
“Ok, I will take the extra-special tea.”
Next post: Either lesson 2: malaria and postmodernism or Elephants or something else.