Pakistan’s writers, poets share their love of tea

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Majority of Pakistan’s writers, poets, lawyers, bankers, students and teachers claim they cannot focus on work unless they take a sip from a hot cup of tea. Image Credit: Stock photo/Pixabay

Islamabad: Like India and Bangladesh, in Pakistan too, there are hundreds and thousands of tea stalls across the country and all of them are doing good business despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is because tea is considered here the most popular drink, a drink for the ordinary as well as the privileged.

Majority of the writers, poets, intellectuals, critics, lawyers, bankers, students and teachers, and of course journalists, with a few exceptions of course, claim they cannot focus on work unless they take a sip from a hot cup of tea.

A number of them when contacted on International Day of Tea acknowledged they felt addicted to tea which proved a great companion during long hours of work and helped them sit till late night while doing some important creative work.

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

“Whether they are the literary sessions of Halqa-e-Arbab-e-Zauq (a literary forum) or the Pak Tea House, writers and poets had perhaps the best literary debates there and you cannot imagine those long tiring debates taking place without taking tea”, said Islam who himself was once an active member of the forum.

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Short story writer Mazharul Islam admitted tea was a vital drink and played an important role in motivating creative persons. Image Credit: Supplied

“In the subcontinent of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, these tea/coffee stalls played the same role that a bar does in the west”, said Islam.

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. “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.

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Poet Iftikhar Arif also eulogized a cup of tea that cheers up the soul and brightens up the mind. Image Credit: Supplied

A cup of tea, though small, is no longer inexpensive these days, said Arif referring to the increase in its price.

In Islamabad’s posh areas, you can have a cup of tea for Pak Rs 500 (Dh11.97) to Pak Rs 1,000 (Dh 23.94).

“However, in general markets and shops, it is still for Pak Rs30 (Dh0.72). Still for the poor and the daily wage person it is not affordable to take two cups of tea from a tea stall”, said Arif.

Another popular fiction writer of Urdu and critic Muhammad Hameed Shahid also paid tribute to tea on International Tea Day.

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Popular fiction writer Muhammad Hameed Shahid paid tribute to tea on International Tea Day. Image Credit: Supplied

“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,” said Shahid.