Archana Srinivas is my favorite Tea-Photographer. Her images of Tea are as refreshing as having Tea on a rainy day itself! Archana is a design consultant and Photographer based out of Banagalore, India. And I was only very very happy to have her participate in the series of ChaiTalks on Chai ki Dukaan!
I have totally enjoyed reading her responses, and I am sure everyone here would love the following offline interview!
- Why Tea?
Drinking tea is for me, an experience where I hold the hot cup in my hands, watch the steam disappear into the atmosphere, the aroma of tea with hints of ginger, cardamom or cinnamon soothe my senses and my mind. I take a sip of the heavenly concoction and float away into a world where words combust to form images and coffee just jolts me back to reality. (No offense to coffee drinkers;-)
- What if you had to make a flavor of tea, what would you have in it, other than Tea leaves?
Regular tea leaves with freshly smashed ginger is an all time favorite. Cardamom, Lemongrass and freshly-plucked Tulsi leaves come a close second.
Lately, while traveling across India, we have learnt that as much as the ingredient enhances the flavor of tea, it is also at what stage you add the ingredient and it just amazes me the hundred-odd ways of making the humble 'chai'...
- Tea in a cup? or Tea in a steel glass? or Tea in a kulhad (earthen cups) or tea in a paper cup? or tea in a glass? and why?
The early morning ritual of tea made by my dear husband is always in a giant ceramic mug, the late-morning tea, when you just need a mouthful is usually in a small steel tumbler, the kulhads come out when there are hot samosas to go with it, I am a sucker for ceramic mugs, so I just wait for opportunities to make chai so I could savor the experience of drinking out of lovely mugs.
Chai in gilaas is so 'desi' just love the feel of dunking Parle-G in chai. Chai in paper cups with delicious, unhygienic vadas in quaint railway stations.
As much as I love looking at tea in dainty porcelain cups and saucers, I just can't have tea the English way;-)
- What is your earliest memory of Tea?
I recall walking into the kitchen as a toddler unable to reach the counter, seeing this huge stainless steel flask being filled with scalding chai every few hours and then being devoured along with homemade savories and bakery butter biscuits.
- Do you remember when you had tea for the first time? Is it related to why you like tea so much?
I don't recall if it was the first time I had tea, but the experience was so much fun.
My mother was having chai and she poured some for me in a shallow steel glass and put a handful of 'Muri' puffed rice in it. I sat watching the gentle crackling sound of the puffed-rice in the chai with utter delight and then slowly scooping out the soggy delicious 'muri' and then glugging down the tea!
- Your favorite brand of tea and why?
At home I always mix two brands of tea, Brooke Bond Red Label & Taj Mahal. One for the strength and the other for the flavor. This concoction works very well for us.
- Your favorite website related to Tea and why?
My blog 'A Cup of Chai…' where I post my daily cups of chai, an interesting personal project where I capture the mood associated with drinking a cup of chai. The simplicity, the mundane-ness appeals to me.
Flickr~ I have some really hard-core chai loving photographer friends. Their photographs of chai are very inspiring.
- If Tea was a person, what would that mean to you? What would that person be like?
Mr.Tea would be strong in character with various surprising flavors to his personality.
- Your favorite T-picture please...
I am pretty partial to all the photographs of tea that I shoot, but here is one in which the 'Tea fairy' seems to be blessing this gilaas of celestial beverage!
- Your favorite T-quote
"Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage."~Catherine Douzel
Please do visit Archana Srinivas Photography page here on FACEBOOK and enjoy the beautiful images!