Okay, so I hate chai.
There, I said it! I know tea is serious business to most of you, so I apologize if this hurts your fragile feelings.
“Tea is what helps you get out of bed each morning and face the world.”
“It’s what you drink when you’re snuggled up in bed during winters with a good book.”
“It’s what magically cures your headache after a long hard day at work.”
That’s what I’ve heard my entire life but no matter how many cups of tea I’ve forced down my throat, I’ve never experienced the feeling of joy that tea-lovers keep raving about. I promise I haven’t chosen to hate tea deliberately, but I just hate it nonetheless.
— Shamilah Rashid (@ShamilahR) February 17, 2016
I realize that growing up in a country like Pakistan where people run solely on Chai and Biryani, hating either is the one of the worst things you can do. If you’re a girl, as soon as you hit puberty you’re on tea-duty (at least thrice a day) to keep your family caffeinated and happy. Yet while the people around me chug tea down as if their lives depend on it, I’m genuinely perplexed why this watery, milky leaf gunk is such a national treasure.
Not liking tea has left me at a serious disadvantage in life. Politely declining every cup that’s offered to you gets increasingly hard in your twenties, as you realize that whether it’s at work, at a friend’s place or at a family gathering, tea is something that people just refuse to live without.
But you know what’s even worse than the god-awful taste of tea? The unhinged army of tea-lovers who are one step away from attacking you for daring to speak out against it. They’re the ones who can’t fathom how a normal person can’t like this wonderful drink (Ew) and constantly badger me to try another cup, hoping that this one might bring me to my senses.
Usually telling someone that you hate tea just earns a look of absolute horror and one or more of the following reactions:
“What do you mean? You don’t drink any tea? Doodh patti? Herbal tea? Not even Green tea?”
“You probably haven’t had a good cup of tea. Have it daily, you’ll end up loving it!”
Why would I even want to be dependent on tea?
“How can you not like tea? It’s amazing. It’s warm and tasty and perks you up. It’s tea. DRINK IT!
I’m sorry, please put down that cup of hot tea. I’m scared.
Tea is just something that has somehow become a mandatory part of our culture and admitting that you don’t drink it, automatically makes you a social outcast. If I had a Mars bar for every time I got ridiculed/scoffed at for not liking tea, I’d be 50 pounds heavier.
But sometimes, when I’m with new people and sheepishly admit that I don’t want any chai, there’s someone who’ll gasp and says “Me too!” It’s rare but it happens, and I live for those moments. You see, there are more of us out there than you realise. But we’re too scared to admit it in case someone gets offended and throws scalding hot tea at us.
Tea lovers, you guys are scary. Calm down and step away from the caffeine. Some of us don’t like tea. Please get over it.