Chapter 1: Calcutta
Thanks for sharing. This brought back some fond (and not so fond!) memories of my own trip to Varanasi years ago. What year were you there? Your article doesn’t say.
There were so many things I enjoyed about India. What an amazing people and culture!
I still try to recreate some of the tastes I experienced there (although I had to be pretty careful where I ate if I didn’t want to die!)
The romance of a street seller’s tea was hard to resist, so we’d watch from afar for a bit to make sure things were done properly.
My favorite tea seller was a woman crouched in a rubbled side alley, true Indian fashion (a squat), in a dusty Punjabi. She made her tea carefully in a large steel pot, beat and dented, on top of an old propane single burner.
She made tea in very small 2-3 cup batches, crushing her spices and then bringing sugared water to boil briefly, then stirring in the milk to bring it to temp, cooking long enough to kill MOST (😱) of the bacteria - good enough for us, anyway.
She served our tea in roughly formed but smooth-lipped raw clay cups, and she had a lovely smile. I think we overpaid her, happily.
I’ll always remember those cups - the height of disposability, handmade and single-use, and then dropped into the street where they became one with the road on the next rain. Like us, if we’re lucky, only faster.