Saturday, November 20, 2010

Polly put the Kettle On, Let’s all have Tea!

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a competition organized by a famous tea company from a social networking site, in which they wanted the participants to give ideas for advertisements. Here’s the elaborated version of what I thought up:

A son studying in a hostel finds his eyes closing every now and then as he tries to study for his exam. He gets up, frustrated and goes to the kitchen to make tea for his own self in order to stay awake. As the tea brews, memories of his mother bringing tea for him while he studied come to his mind that make him really wish that she were there for him or that he were at home.

From the hostel kitchen, we are led to the welcoming kitchen of a loving household, where in front of the stove, stands a granddaughter making special kind of tea with just the right mix of ‘masala’ her grandfather preferred. She carries the tea to her grandfather’s room and places the tray on the table next to her grandfather’s antique rocking chair, seated on which was not her grandfather but the sleeping form of his wife. The light thump awakens her grandmother, who picks up the cup of tea as the two stare at the picture of the deceased. Tears trickle down the cheeks of the woman, who has taken up the role of her husband in order to keep his memories alive.

In a family of over-enthusiasts, a newly-wed girl who has never tasted tea ever, amidst the numerous flashes and clicks of cameras, takes a sip for the first time from the hands of her ‘sasu-ma’ in her 'sasural' just to please her in-laws as the whole family of tea-buffs, old and young, gathers around to magnify this interesting little activity to the height of an event worthy of celebration.

From the hustle and bustle of that family living room, we are led to a room that literally holds pin-drop silence and reminiscent within the room, is a businessman, on a trip away from his family, taking some time out from his busy schedule in order to relax himself with a cup of tea and stare at his happy family photo. His thoughts travel to the life he lives, where every evening, his wife would carry a tray with enough cups and mugs of different shapes and sizes according to the preference of the variety of people forming the joint-family household setup. Soon to follow would be another tray carrying assorted tea-time snacks and biscuits for everybody. He smiles for a while before the silence of the room brings him back to the striking loneliness of the present.

The concept is that tea is a part of the routine lives of these people and when you are away from your loved ones, the only thing that you really remember is the everyday happenings and the customary things in your life, which is pretty much what you can relate your routine cup of tea with.

The concept I presented was quite clich├ęd and I agree that there was nothing new about it. Maybe because I inherently believe that there’s nothing new about drinking tea either. Ever since I can remember, I have seen my mother keep a pot of tea to brew on the stove regularly in the mornings and evenings. I also remember having tea-biscuit for breakfast with the help of my mother before I left for kindergarten class. The nursery rhyme in the title also brings back a lot memories of the most common and basic toys that most young girls grow up playing with - tea-cup and kitchen sets.

For someone accustomed to drinking tea more than thrice a day, up until a few years ago it was quite surprising for me to hear that some people really don’t drink tea! Since, it’s like an overall family tradition to have tea with breakfast and in the evenings at least, we’ve long since wanted to teach our older Mithoo to drink tea. On the other hand, the little-est and not to mention the cutest member of our family, despite being less than four months of age, really shows family instincts as she excitedly stares at our cups of tea. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Mithoo Series – Life is simple!

And it sure is, when you look at it through the eyes of a three-year-old!

The homes that are blessed with children can always find a source of relaxation as a few moments spent with these tiny little beings can cheer you up and leave you in a lighter mood despite the circumstances you’re in. They’re like flowers that require a nourishing atmosphere, care and protection from all troubles and in order to inculcate such an environment, we tend to forget our own problems just by being with them. 

My Mithoo and I
By the Grace of the Almighty, our home is Blessed with two wonderful little princesses, who happen to be my nieces, three-and-a-half-year-old Inaaya and three-month-old Tahani. This is a series dedicated to my Mithoo, Inaaya, whose little actions and constant chatter and cute interpretation and usage of words brings lots of cheer into our household. I thought it would be interesting to share her antics with everybody as I’ve always found my friends enjoying when I shared with them my experiences with her.

Inaaya had been called to school this weekend on Saturday because of the numerous holidays they had been granted owing to the difficult situations our city has been facing. Not having a habit of sleeping in the afternoon, she uses all of her time to play, play and play – the one thing that signifies her right as a child. She sometimes does feel the need to have somebody else around whom she could share her enthusiasm of playing with. It’s not impossible to say that she might find that companion in her younger sister once she reaches that age. But for now, she either has to do alone or convince the elder people in the house to frolic with her.

After her constant activity, she went with my parents and sister-in-law to see my father’s uncle, who has come to settle in Pakistan after staying a long, long time abroad. It was way past her early bedtime when she returned home. All her exertion the whole day long had rendered her so exhausted and void of all energy that she could only muster up a little more just enough to slump on my parents’ bed. Her condition had led the elders to decide that she would not be going to school the next day so just to tease her a little, I told her that she has to go to school the next morning. Knowing very well from the conversation that had transpired a while ago that she would not be going, she said, “Aap, hai na, aap, hai na (You should, you should)…” My heart melt at the difficulty she was experiencing in thinking straight because of her weariness as it took her a long time to form a proper sentence. “Aap school phone kar ke bol do ke kal school nai rakhey, main kal nai aaoonga (You should phone the school to call an off tomorrow because I won’t be coming)!” She managed finally, putting her hand to her ear as an illustration.

I laughed at her innocence. Kids make everything sound and look so simple. They don’t just want but expect the whole world to go according to their will. May Allah always Bless the innocence of these wonderful sources of joy in our lives and Guide them to become great people.