A few months back I realized that I would not want to spend money going to stand-up comedy shows. They were forever speed-talking about politics, the politics of #MeToo, relationships in politics, poll-i-tics of TRPs and Karan Johar, the cricket pitch of politics, the raga of politics, on political fenku-giri, the way even love is nothing but politics, and politics over chai. Thank God, they haven’t yet thought about green tea politics!
I prefer awakening the comic within… and there is nothing better than green tea to let gonadal giggles bubble out in a constant stream.
My first stop while exploring comedy, creativity, and green tea was a SushiBar. The guy there suggested I try green-tea sushi and I said, ‘Yes, go ahead!’ So pulled out a wriggling fish and put it in a bowl of green tea. The fish turned blue and then yellow and then green and looked at me with bulging eyes that clearly said, ‘Go. Go. Go. Move it man. Write your pome. Write your piece. But spare me!’ So I left the future of blue and yellow to walk out and sit on a spare bench in the mall to do some environment friendly creative jogging.
This was when a fat American lady stopped and asked, ‘Where can I find green tea here?’
‘Greens?’ I asked, trying to struggle out of the creative mish-mash of words that I was in at the moment.
She took out a wad of US dollars and waved at me, ‘These are greens. Now add tea to them.’ I looked at her and said, ‘Your mathematics is fine. Do you know that drinking green tea makes Asians win the math Olympiads in your country?’ The woman looked at me and uttered green tea fast and many times and it sounded like guarantee all the time.
‘Yes,’ I said, nodding my head as many times as she spoke her words, ‘I guarantee that green tea makes you creative.’
The American woman finally smiled dismissively and said, ‘You’re just like so many in my country who think green is weed. Marijuana pumps them up.’
I said, ‘Green tea gets us pumped.’ This was when she left me with my mish-mash of words that now appeared so new, fresh, and inexperienced. I was quite literally seeing green everywhere. By the way, I hadn’t yet had this drink made from the plant species Camellia sinensis that is more oxidized than white tea but less than oolong tea and black tea. Green was putting ferociously on my mind now and I searched for the right hole to recycle my creative urges.
I went in search of my #Instacuppa of #GreenTea and entered some Café called Theanine and was asked to share a table with a gentleman who was solving a crossword.
‘Are you too in search of creativity?’ I asked, trying to break ice with someone who I thought knew the world of words.
‘Theanine,’ he said with a mysterious glint in his eyes.
‘Theanine?’ I repeated, quite unnecessarily, because he was already speaking even before I finished uttering this rather complex word.
‘Caffeine and theanine,’ he said, and before I could repeat what he said with an exclamation or a question-mark added, he waved me into silence and went on, ‘they take time to act and create for you a positive mood that spanks the brain’s cognitive region to wake up and kick-in new ideas.’
‘Ah! This makes sense,’ I said, ‘where do I get them?’
‘Green tea,’ he said, ‘I had my first slurp an hour ago and I can already see the answers to all clues floating up in a queue.’
He opened some article on The Telegraph on his smartphone and made me read a line that talked about block building tests and how ‘tea drinkers scored 6.54 points against 6.03 points for the water drinkers. In the name test, the tea drinkers scored 4.11 against 3.78’. I looked at the glass of RO water in front of me with utter disdain and asked the waiter to hurry up with my cup of green tea.
I slurped my green tea as we discussed clue after clue and I kept losing every time because he invariably took a small sip from cup, closed his eyes, and came up with the right answer. I took one huge gulp to which he said, ‘Go slow. No hurry. Your muse will appear soon enough.’
‘Theanine is a mood enhancer and not a pole dancer stimulating with an urgency in the air,’ he said, ‘it comes with added vigilance and good reaction time that makes the memory churn up facts in an unending stream.’
‘Magical,’ I murmured, ‘Good for writers and poets, I guess.’
‘Well, even for artists,’ he added, ‘and detectives too. The game of mouse and cat gets more interesting if the burglar too has had green tea.’ We laughed.
An hour later I was surprised to have written a poem that included almost all the words that this gentleman had used to solve his crossword. I think my brain was focused on working overtime even as the rest of my bod was comfortably ensconced in a calm and relaxed cocoon. Though the rest of the benefits of green tea did not interest me much, but let me add here that this pale and almost transparent harmless looking drink is a warrior fighting free radicals and being the anti-oxidant that in many ways keeps the cells live and kicking. This is good enough for me, but then I followed what almost everyone does when life foxes them and opened my smartphone to read that the list of achievements of green tea is long. From burning fat and boosting the metabolic rate to lowering risks of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, diabetes, and even cardiovascular disorders, this drink helps a person live longer.
That day my search for the comic truth behind green tea left me so excited that as I even told that stranger in the lift, ‘Green is proper tea.’
‘Property? Where? Where is green property today sir, the city is a concrete jungle,’ he said, before stepping out of the lift.
I insisted, ‘Green is a safe tea as well.’
‘Ask Kareena,’ he said, ‘Only she can have Saif tea. Ha! Ha!’
This was becoming unnerving and so I pulled him back in the lift and said, ‘You come after tea.’
‘Hey! You’re being rude,’ he retorted angrily.
‘Why?’ I said, ‘I just said that U comes after T, didn’t I? Ha! Ha!’ We went our way without another word exchanged.
The secret about this elixir is that you must wait for some time after sipping your green tea because a gap makes the amino acid L-theanine cross the blood-brain barrier to reduce anxiety by increasing the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. Dopamine and alpha waves happily jostle demanding more space and the creative juices simply flow. By the way, I know you wouldn’t be sipping green tea all the time, so go ahead and chew ginger and drink a concoction of turmeric and milk in between. I’ve just read that these things also help.
For now, I’ve been on a constant dose of green tea as I wrote this piece. I am now seriously thinking of adding a pinch of turmeric and a dash of pulped ginger to my green tea… creativity is indeed an addiction!
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12 February 2019