Recently D, the same old college friend from the previous post, was in town and we met up before she left again. Her idea was to go for tea and then a walk and completely avoid the usual hangouts. I agreed. After receiving some lovely gifts (craft shop and antique shop finds – how well D knows me!), we headed for tea.
I chose Lloyd’s Tea House because of its variety of teas and regretted it as soon as we set foot in it. It was so noisy that I was feeling stressed within a few seconds. That was probably the only jarring note that evening. Lloyds Tea House is the latest pretentious experiment to dot the café landscape of this city. I say pretentious because the décor tries hard to appear hipster-ish but somehow the whole thing doesn’t come together. Typewriters fastened to walls do not help if the place is so noisy that I had shout to be heard. It was very far from the quiet conversation with a friend that I wanted.
While we sipped on flavoured teas, D read out her poem-in-progress which I loved. The first cuppa was all novelty what with mini hourglasses and coloured sand to measure the exact soaking time for the tea leaves (thank god it was not tea bags) and other new things. It was fun but the taste of the tea was nothing above ordinary. The second cuppa was very soothing.
We stepped out with relief to take a Jane Austen-ish ‘turn’ through the not-so-posh lanes of Alwarpet (yes, they do exist). As soon as we turned into the interior roads, the silence was exquisite. It felt so wonderful to hear birdsong as we talked about PhD topics, Shashi Tharoor, books, poetry and an old aunt of hers who owns a beautiful but dilapidated bungalow right there on the main road. I wouldn’t be able to recall the exact conversation we had but it was such fun.
I came away with a sense of calm that carried me through over the next several days.