A very fine line existed between chai and tea as I grew up. Tea was served in a teapot , with milk in a creamer and sugar in a sugar pot served in a tray with cups and saucers. The ubiquitous “tea mug” had still not appeared. Of course when we had visitors or were visiting, it was customary to offer tea and be served tea. Tea when said in English in an otherwise Hindi conversation, meant a tea service and chai meant a brew of water, milk, sugar , tea leaves and other condiments. Chai was not at all the thing to drink in the household I grew up in! I grew up drinking tea. My memory of tea is the red Brooke Bond box my mother bought at the grocers. My father believing himself to be a man with a slightly refined taste, bought two different loose teas from a slightly upmarket place and mixed the teas in varying proportions to make his own ‘blend’ which he thought was better then anything being sold in the market. One tea he said was for the color and the other for the aroma and the two together created the perfect cup of tea according to him. I remember the number of times we returned from visiting someone and my father telling my mother that the tea had not quite satiated him because it was a different taste and flavor. I often thought about how a tea could have a different flavor given that it was made with some leaves, milk and sugar and after much pondering put it down to something the adults liked to talk about. I watched the adults consume tea and talk about the ‘blends’ my father created at home, if they can be called “blends” that is. This was in the 60s. Adults drank tea and we children got to look at the beautiful tea service and were allowed to have the sandwiches, biscuits and other snacks that were served with the tea. Until the mid 70s I had not tasted this drink that adults spent so much time over and that seemed to be a staple offering in every household…..