And then we met Raj
whilst sat on a bench
He offered us tea
half an hour later our tea arrived
hot, milky, sweet
not to be rushed
there is a Balti/Pakistani proverb
The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family...
You must take the time to share tea
Raj shared with us, not only his tea, but also, how to make a good cup of Pakistani tea, stressing: it’s an art and not everyone can make it.
We drank his tea
We are no longer strangers
We will go back to this bench with our English tea making equipment
And we will make tea for him, his friends, and uncles
As we drank, two beautifully attired women walked up the street
their shalwar kameez vibrant, cerise and orange, and softly billowing
I went to them
You look so beautiful; can I take your photograph?
They stared back at me – blankly
Upon repeating my question, Kasim, who was also drinking tea with us, shouted across to the ladies in Punjabi.
They replied – in Punjabi. He then shouted to me