an evening with Anandini tea and poetry recital by Tom Alter...

Tom Alter is the actor we have been mesmerized with since our childhood. It was his perfectly blue eyes and am impeccable Hindi-Urdu accent that made him endearing to us even as kids. He used to be an imposing presence on the television screen in the times when we used to watch a few Doordarshan serials on Sunday, later we saw him in some movies too.

Watching him recite The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (T. S. Eliot) in a mellow baritone was like reliving many moments from the past. Teas from Anandini were the perfect foil to such mellifluous poetry. The event was a part of 'A New Perspective' series of events by Le Meridien, New Delhi. At twentieth floor, windows overlooking the best parts of Delhi, every element felt dream like. It happens more when I am with my favorite tea infusions. Yes I get drunk on my teas.

 It happens when the tea shines like gentle rays of rising sun to you..

Having a good cup of tea is like a morning waking up in my eyes. The first cup of tea that I have in the day is an inwards dialogue with myself that preps me up for the day ahead. My morning cuppa is a Darjeeling always as a habit, and then I have a few cups during the day that are basically tea-herb infusions. Different infusions for different moods for me as I really enjoy each cuppa as a way to have a dialogue with myself. As if the elements of nature swirl in the sunshine that a cup holds. A tea-herb infusion is always something that converses with you, soothes you when most needed and heals you when you are tormented by flu or something similar. Yes I make my own infusions mostly using fresh herbs form the garden but Anandini by Anamika Singh has been the best commercially available tea I tasted.

And in this special evening we experienced seven blends of Anandini and Tom Alter also symbolized seven cups of tea during the day to a life full of love and longing..

He started with lighting candles at each table that was laid out for the attendees, bringing everyone into the moment while he recited the lines from The Love Song...

He went on with  more verses from Ghalib in between, some anecdotes from his own life and some snippets from the play on the life of Maulana Azad who loved his tea and divided the world into tea drinkers and non tea drinkers.

Ghalib was remembered and recited with this special black topi. Such a handsome old man he is.

He looked on lovingly when Anamika introduced her teas and told everyone that they can make their own infusions always, but to appreciate loose tea and not the one that comes imprisoned in tea bags. The soul of the tea is lost when enclosed in bags, or they just use inferior quality tea. Or may be both.

The passion is so evident..

Her proud parents watched with a gleam in their eyes..

A tea with fresh rose petals looks so inviting, so refreshing.. Have a sip..

And some more while the poetry takes a break and you are listening to Beatles or Frank Sinatra or even Rajesha Khanna Hindi songs. Tom Alter quoted lines from old forgotten songs as they were played in the background. All of it felt surreal at times, music has a way to make you time travel.

Getting drunk on teas with some nostalgia thrown in, the evening was conceptualized so well.

Dainty tidbits to complement the teas were served while we soaked into Eliot's poetry recited by Tom Alter. Though I would say the snacks with the pastry layer were all a bit weird tasting, the paneer triangles and sandwiches were nice.

Later we had a gala time chitchatting with friends over some more food to eat..

Thanking Anamika and Anasuya for this wonderful experience. This picture is taken by a shaky old hand, but is still precious. Memories were made that evening, more because we friends have so much to share with each other every time we meet.

Remember to appreciate good quality teas, make your own infusions if you get good herbs and flowers around, use your imagination to bring a cuppa to life.


  1. it was magical evening!!!

  2. Ah, Sangeeta, this post was dripping with the goodness of tea and Alter. How we enjoyed watching Tom Alter on TV and films - his voice is just heavenly and to listen to Prufrock might have been wonderful. The teas in this post look so very inviting, almost like fine wine.

    And how do we make our own infusions?

    Joy always,

  3. What a treat this must have been! I love the blend of tea and other things like poetry, music, art, candles, as much as I love what tea says to me in solitude. Anamika's offerings look tempting. I saw the more recent coffee post too! :)


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