It was in March that I joined Teabox. I’d been shopping for ‘Assam loose leaf teas’ and found the website, the teas and a job opening.

Until I came here, I prided myself on being a reasonably fussy tea drinker, particular about the tea and how it’s steeped. In the time I have spent at Teabox, in the company of fellow tea folks, I seem to have discovered a world full of people just like us. Fussy tea makers, with a desire for a life that’s more savored than just lived.

One of the earliest conversations I had with my team was on what a cup of tea meant to us. It has been the foundation of much of what we have done during the year, and especially so in the choice of stories we’ve commissioned and published. There’s a natural slowing down as the tea steeps, and in the minutes that it takes, ice is broken, anxieties are soothed, and an overall feeling of camaraderie is achieved. Perhaps the answer to so much of the world’s problems lies in a cup of tea.

Tea also became key to many conversations I’ve had, with writers, artists, even famous authors whose books I have read and loved. “Are you a tea drinker?” I’ve asked, realizing each time how weird that sounded. But if my query wasn’t strange enough, most have responded with, “I am a fussy tea drinker. Yes, let’s talk.” Or words to that effect. There have only been the occasional philistines.

And so the stories began to unfold, of far-flung towns in India, of history, of people who grew up on estates, of people who are now living on tea estates and loving it, of travels, of thoughts, of personal stories about what tea means to people, and of tea itself. Truth be told, I didn’t suspect ‘tea’ to be a universe unto itself. But happily enough, we can all connect over tea. It’s a leveler, a unifier, and the magic spell that keeps away all the heebie jeebies.

To tell a story over a cup of tea has to be like a conversation between friends, isn’t it? You can’t hurry it. So, this new year, here’s our wish for you, our readers: enough time everyday to take a break, a time to pause, as you put that kettle on, sit back, roll those shoulders down, and enjoy the stories that are steeping right here.  

A very happy new year, friends, readers, and tea-mates!

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