Drinking tea in Jharkhand is a strangely therapeutic experience. It is, I have realised, my way of getting the bad karma out of my system. Like calamine lotion on a seven-year itch, like lemon juice after a shot of Rasputin vodka - it soothes, it calms the nerves.
It has nothing to do with the beverage, mind you. The tea is the same ghastly stuff that looks and tastes like something you'd wash out of your hair. It's what they serve it in.
Kullad's are what potters make when they have to go to their in-laws for Christmas. They draw tiny faces on them, carefully inscribe the words "Uncle-Aunty tera muh kaala" and hurl them, with all their might at their neighbour's cat. It provides them with closure, it gives them peace, it is the poor man's squeezy ball. And it works. One act of destruction and you feel a strange sense of calm. There is no anger, no hatred. Just a syrupy aftertaste.
One lump or two?
Someday I will have a receding hairline.
Someday I will wear pajamas in the day time.
'Cause I'm the TAS-man
Yeah, I'm the TAS-man
So, I begin work on Monday, yeah. It's been a three-month vacation and I have serious doubts about how I am going to manage without my daily afternoon nap. I also wonder what it'd be like to do some work.
You see, I drifted through my years at Stephen's. XLRI was meant to be different. It wasn't. I gave presentations on the fly, off the cuff and into thin air. I authored reports that were almost but not quite entirely unoriginal (the ones that were original quite often started with limericks and Shel Silverstein poems).
But now, I'm going to get paid to get work done. That makes all the difference, doesn't it?
Anyway, I will be working with TAS. It used to stand for the Tata Administrative Service, but, anxious to avoid comparisons with the sarkari IAS, it de-acronymised itself. It now stands, like ITC, for nothing at all.
So, raise your glasses please, and let us drink to new beginnings. Wish me luck and I'll send you either a Taj discount voucher or a used tea-bag.