Oriental Tea Ceremony


Yesterday’s experience will remain a cozy oasis in my heart.  As I’d declared on my status yesterday, I had a date with my boss and his son.  It turned out to be a heartwarming day despite the relentless dreary drizzle.


I’d promised my Jewish boss Hal that I’d accompany him to our Ganesh temple in Flushing Queens, New York to commence 2015 on a solid footing.  Super busy Hal meditates daily being a marshal arts sensei, an ex- Hollywood actor who teaches acting and runs own dojo besides selling real estate.  After working eleven plus years for him,  I’ve come to love him as a dear friend.  He was always around with door to door service when I had my various minor + surgeries over the years.


I am plain thankful that I landed a job with him after working three years for a bitter corrosive she-devil of a realtor.  The contrast took a while to sink in when I first joined present workplace. Basically in literal sense I landed from fire into a shady glen. And that’s how my life has been more or less in every context.


Now to the present.  Our one to one with Lord Ganesha went rather well and the priest was exceptionally gracious to us as there were only a handful of brave souls around.  After the usual ‘Parikrama’ (circling the temple of deity) post archanas (offerings and requests) we decided to meditate.  Hal, my boss can enter what he calls his ‘pleasure dome’ with a blink of an eye and how I envy him that- my mind is too restless to stay still.  Either I connect right away or languish in anguish.  Yesterday I did not connect unlike a week or so back when I went with Ganesh and had a wonderful connection that had warmed body and soul right away.  Soon afterwards, we were on our way to appease our grumpy bellies and much to my relief Hal and junior enjoyed their ven pongal (a khichidi of rice and mung lentil with curry leaves, cashew nuts and whole black peppercorns and lots of ghee) and Pondicherry dosa (rice and lentil crepe) very much along with brewed Madras coffee.  Then we were on our way to Hal’s planned surprise visit to an authentic Chinese gourmet tea place.


Parking was impossible and hence Paul offered to stay in the car while we went inside to the tea store/ expo.   It was a wonderful experience.


First of all the decor was aesthetically pleasing and the staff wore traditional Chinese garbs.  After enquiring about our wishes, the host beckoned us to a ‘tea ceremony readied table’.  The seats were not too low and luckily I was wearing my knee joint sleeves and could maneuver easily.  Then began a wondrous calming experience.  Being overly receptive to atmospheric vibes, I was soon at ease ready to be beguiled.  Tea is a passion with me as is and I often take the trouble to warm my cup and pots and steep tea well before drinking my perfect cuppa.


Our host was a diminutive Chinese lady and in her hushed quiet manner she explained the true nature, age and therapeutic value of each variety.  Even small packages can cost over a hundred bucks given how aged they were was an eye opener for me.  We were served five helpings in tiny porcelain cups of each variety of tea and this tasting can cost anywhere from five to ten dollars per person.  Hal was only interested in Pu-erh teas that come compressed in bricks  or cakes and one can enjoy up to ten steepings with only one pellet/cake same day or next day max.  The serving cups were merely 2-3 gulps full in depth and made of fine bone china.  First she poured steaming hot water in the pot containing pu-erh tea disc – then she rinsed ours and her cup with hot water prior to pouring the tea into a small serving pot, using that to fill our cups.  Her graceful hands and quiet demeanor were rather calming and as the aroma and flavor of the tea coursed inside my veins I felt a lovely haze steal all over.  All haste and impatience had fled and I felt rather laid back and euphoric.  Soon the tea ceremony was over and after purchasing some tea bricks we left for next work appointment.  And that is that…

both images are from google


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