Where I remember Kaka and his wonderful cup of lembu cha

I don’t really know what made me think of Old Kaka today as I sat on the balcony and watched the slanting rays of the sun melt the giant chunk of ice which I had thrown onto the verandah.

My fridge has this de-frost option which means all the ice in the freezer melts and then collects into the storage tray below the freezer thing. And then it (the water collected) freezes again and forms a huge chunk of ice. Which I throw onto the balcony and watch it while it melts.

Anyway, I dont know what made me think of Kaka this morning. An old, willowy chap who used to make this delectable lebu cha (lemon tea). I have always believed that part of the “taste” of street food lies in watching the food being made and this was no different with Kaka.

First, he would place the kettle of water on the gas stove, carefully wrapping an old towel around the handle. Wait a few minutes and in the meanwhile slice up a lemon, remove a tiny glass and put sugar in it from a recycled plastic container.

Take the filtering thing containing boiled tea leaves, place over tiny glass and pour boiling water through it. The sugar would swirl and the glass would be filled with the light-brown liquid. The slice of lemon would be de-seeded then squeezed into the chai. Finally he would take the wrong end of a spoon, twirl it around and remove any seeds which may have accidentally fallen in. And the metallic spoon would make that tinkling sound which metal makes on contact with glass.

He would hand it over carefully, holding onto the highest possible part of the glass.

And I would sip it slowly, feel the slightly acrid bite of lemon hit my tongue and the warmth of the liquid flow into my belly.

The weather would always play a role in the manner in which the tea was enjoyed. On hot, muggy days, the black rubber sheet hanging over the shack would only accentuate the heat and the humidity. The chai would be slipped very slowly and there would be fewer words exchanged.

In winter, with the rubber sheet gone, the chai would be savoured in longer sips, the speed of words increasing with every sip.

I don’t know what old Kaka is up to nowadays, probably still being harangued by that garrulous old wife of his and probably still struggling to calculate 2+2+2.5.

For me though, he will always remain one of the finest makers of lembu cha I have ever encountered.



In all seriousness, “Amplifier” has an absolutely killer base loop. Very catchy and head-tappin if you know what I mean.


I don’t know whether I will ever use these lines : “Lady future does not care to share her secrets with me, though truth be told, I am more than a little hesitant to ask.” but it would be super cool if I got away with it.

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3 Responses to Where I remember Kaka and his wonderful cup of lembu cha

  1. Eveline says:

    My grandmother used to make her own scented soap. It’s the same fragrance she would shake a few drops of the citrusy refreshing goodness into the water she used to wipe us down when we had fevers. The scent is so mild, but it refreshes like nothing else.
    No one in the family makes the soap any more, but I can still remember how it smells.
    This post was truly the memory trigger. *sniffle*

    That statement with lady future can be used pretty much whenever you want to say it. It just depends on whether you’re gonna take the blow for sounding a little Victorian. 😛

    • kroswami says:

      “ass hole”, “shit grammar wala”, “moron”, “gaandu”
      I think, after being called all of the above, I can “take the blow” for sounding a little Victorian.

  2. Jay says:

    Victorian, indeed! Dear, dear…would you be able to withstand the stigma of propriety?

    *sigh* Kaka’s lebu cha! The only lemon tea I’ve had recently has come from CCD…and it doesn’t hold a candle…

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