Despite my self imposed solitary confinement and also an emphatic NO, to whatever petit invites I receive, life still keeps engaging me, in strange ways. Every now and then I keep runnning into people, and somehow even though I dont interact much verbally, some sort of bonhomie develops. Recently I met someone, who introduced himself as a Bombay boy. He had just set his foot on this land. As the converstation welled up, I was the asked the usual desi-to-desi question, 'where are you from'. I convinientaly dodged it, giving him in return some rhetoric and some innuendos. Later, as courtsey demands, I offerred some biscuits and enquired if he would like some chai or coffee. Chai, came the answer, after the usual no-thanks, prelude.
I realized, that actually I dont have what it takes to make a chai. For several years now, I am more accustomed to English-tea, and I dont stock the "poor-dark-cousin" of it. :-)
I expressed my, inability and enquired if he would rather manage with coffee, since english-tea taste might not be, well, his cup of tea. He responded, he would like to try something new and something else which i dont recall now.
So as the earl-grey, started leaving its hue in the cup, he told me, that he is actually from konkan. He retold a story of his forefathers migrating from the costal areas coz the conversion drive of invaders, was so strong, that they had to either convert or flee. His forefathers naturally chose dharma and relocated to Bombay. As I was listening to his story, I could see his face displaying various emotions. Perhaps he was waiting for me to respond. I was straight faced. I noticed that his cup was far from empty, while I had finished mine long ago. I told him, its not neccesary to drink it, and I can make coffee and he need not finish it for the sake of polite-social-bheaviour. Till now actually, I was hearing his story, attentively but non jugementally, with little or no, sentiments for the family suffering etc.
He replied that he is actually enjoying tea. Before I could remark thats he is being too formal again, he told me, this is what people drink in Konkan. He told me about how peasents in konkan are so poor that they cant afford a cow or purchase milk. He told me how this is the "the breakfast tea" of konkan.
Perhaps it was the way he told it. Or perhaps it was the way the vapour from his cup was condensing on his glasses. I suddenly missed milk in my tea. The mlik that turns darkness into light(brown).