Burnt Tea

I’m fond of tea. I believe it is my daily elixir. Like most addicts, I drink tea for every possible reason- when I’m happy or when I’m sad, when I’m tired or just to pass time. It’s hard to explain why I enjoy drinking tea so much because non tea drinkers would not get it. The taste for tea is acquired and over time, refined. Initially it was difficult. It was difficult to drink tea without milk or sugar, but the real taste of its flavors only comes when there are just two elements involved- hot water and the tea bag.

A few months ago, I walked into the kitchen to make myself some green tea. I had a box of exotic tea leaves from Indonesia and I was looking forward to tasting it. As always, I turned the stove on with some water to boil and walked out. A few minutes later I walked back in and added a few tea leaves and left to answer a phone call. I ran up to my room to check some documents and then slowly started clearing the clutter and packing my bags for a trip I was to make the next day. I walked back to my computer to work on a post and did not move until I got hungry. It was around 2 PM when I finally left my room. Scrolling past the notifications on my phone, I sensed this strange smell in the air. ‘Is something burning?’ I thought to myself as I made my way to the kitchen. The sight that followed is indelible. A simmer flame was slowing blackening the vessel that once held hot water. The water (or rather the tea), had evaporated and all that remained were the ashes of my exotic Indonesian tea leaves. In a panic, I jumped to turn off the flame and threw that vessel in the sink. I then started to recall how long it had been since I left the kitchen forgetting to turn off the stove.

What followed is a guilt-ridden afternoon spent in scrubbing off the scorched vessel to restore it to its former glory.
(For those who care, I succeeded a few hours later but you can tell, it doesn’t look the same.)

Now, when I look back at that incident I can think of so many metaphors that I can use it for. I’m going to allegorize one today.

Our souls are delicate, like the exotic tea leaves; the hot water our lives. In order to live a fulfilled life, we need to be exposed to the ways of the world to be transformed into something beautiful under the right circumstance. If we don’t cut off from the heat at the right time, the damage to our soul is practically irreversible. But if the necessary action is taken at the right time, the result is remarkable.

I know it seems kinda silly that I would speak so passionately about tea and compare it to the soul. But it is still true. Unless you treat it with care, it might just end up like ash. But lucky for us, it’s never too late to cut off the heat. All you have to do is act.

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