International Day of Tea


All they need is a paper, a pen and a cup of hot tea!

Zubair Qureshi

Writers, poets, intellectuals, critics, lawyers, bankers, students and teachers, and of course journalists, in short all except a few have an inbuilt likeness (some call it addiction) for tea.

On May 21 (Friday), the International Day of Tea, Pakistan Observer in order to know how they feel for tea and what role according to them it plays in polishing their creative genius, contacted a number of writers, poets and intellectuals and received interesting replies.

Pakistan’s acclaimed story writer and former Managing Director of the National Book Foundation (NBF) Mazharul Islam admitted tea (he prefers coffee) was a vital drink and played an important role in motivating creative persons, particularly poets and writers, to pen down great works of literature.

Be they literary discussions of Halqa-e-Arbab-e-Zauq Islamabad and Rawalpindi or at Pak Tea House in Lahore writers and poets used to have perhaps the best literary debates and what kept them carry on was this magic drink, said Mazharul Islam pointing towards a cup of coffee on the table in front of him.

Here, these tea/coffee shops played the same role, a bar does in the west, said Mazharul Islam who has switched from tea to coffee. However there too in libraries and bookshops you have coffee corners.

Former Director General of the National Language Promotion Department (NLPD) and ex-Chairman of the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) veteran poet, Iftikhar Arif also eulogized a cup of tea that cheers up the soul and brightens up the mind.

Many poets and writers owe their literary achievements to a small cup of tea, said Arif. A cup of tea is small but no longer inexpensive these days, he said but its impact is as strong as it once used to be.

During our late-night wanderings, and while writing or crafting some line, a cup of tea used to be our only and lonely friend, said Arif recalling his days of literary and creative pursuits.

Another popular fiction writer and critic of our times, Hameed Shahid also paid tributes to tea on the International Day of Tea in the following words: For us the writers, an ideal state in which we can write something of value is: a peaceful room with a table, a chair, a pen, a paper and a cup of tea.

Without tea, we, at least, I can neither read nor write and it goes to the credit of my better half who keeps serving tea to keep my literary being alive.