An ode to the rescue beverage: Of tea breaks and their lack
Journalists enjoy their cups of tea the most on busy days. On an easy day, when you don’t have back-to-back live telecasts of events and press conferences to cover, your cup of tea is just a cup of tea. Refreshing nonetheless, it is not more than a beloved hot beverage.
But taking a ten-minute break when the newsroom is buzzing with activity and stepping out for tea does the trick. It converts your cup of tea into the saviour of your sanity. On those days, the ten-minutes are not just 600 seconds. They enable your transmission into a psychologically healing realm.
Forcing you to look away from the news of death and violence for once in 9 hours, the tea break reminds you of all the beautiful things that are worth living for. Take it with a friend, and its effect increases manifold. Utilise it as a means of catharsis. Tell your friend about all that bothers you, from newsroom politics to national politics, there is nothing that cannot be discussed over that cup of tea. You’re not so bitter anymore. Maybe the tea was too sweet. You’d have to remind your chaiwallah to add less sugar next time.
Now, imagine a change of setting. The nationwide lockdown has been extended and you’re sitting in the comfort of your home, in pyjamas. The line between work and life is blurry, your working hours are stretched and you feel consumed with work even after you log out for the day. You wish there was a switch you could turn off to disconnect yourself from work, but you end up scrolling through office group chats every other hour.
Along with a change of setting comes a change of mindset. You’re relentless. You think all this is justified because you’re saving on time by not travelling to work. This is when the ‘missing tea break’ syndrome hits you. Your kitchen is two meters away but the chaiwallah is missing. You can have tea in your favourite mug but the kulhad is missing. You can take a break if you really want to but the friend you take it with is missing.
However, whether you realise it or not, one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for you to take that break. If anything, it has become even more essential at a time like this. Make a little compromise on the tea break as you knew it. Make do with homemade tea (which would never have extra sugar). Step out of your study and reclaim those lost 600 seconds. Stay sane, stay safe!