Firdaus .. translates to 'Paradise' and to me the surrounding makes a difference to how your Tea will taste :) and so does the 'state of mind'. About the latter we will ponder over some other time.
So does this sound strange?
Well, experiences make you who you are .. and experiences make my cuppa too :)
I know I have re-iterated the words that the Gurus of Tea have explained in books, in conferences and in seminars - the source, the tea leaves, the method of storage, water, the method of Infusion, the utensil, all of it eventually makes a perfect cuppa but one thing that you can be sure of is this - if your surrounding doesn't whisper 'peace & harmony', the cup will taste like stale water ;)
I remember reading in a book written by Aaron Fisher where he wrote "Quietude is perhaps most important aspect of the Way of Tea.
If one is busy chatting and the mind is running, then which part of oneself is enjoying the tea?"
The conversation that you have with that cuppa & yourself is that which will lead to the connect, the grace, the time for introversion.
I experienced all of this and much more when I was in 'firdaus' (which is Kashmiri language) translates into 'paradise', when I was in Lidderwat, at a height of 10,000 feet where for miles at a stretch there were just whispering pine trees, wild horses, happy daisies, lush green meadows, sound of the gushing Jhelum, pure & pristine. The thoughts were far away from the world of dust & chaos. An occasional 'salaam' from a passerby shepherd followed by intrigue & then a smile was the only source of contact with a human being.
A moment that will be mine forever was when I was offered a glass of Tea by an old lady, the mother of a young boy who was grazing his ponies one sunny crisp cold morning as I trekked through mountains, rugged.
That particular glass of tea was made with so much of love, that which reflected in her eyes. It tasted divine :) To think I never have Tea with milk & sugar but I felt the love and I wrapped my fingers around 'warmth' and I sipped life .. I was in sync with every drop that trickled in. So I sat on the lush green dew soaked grass, feeling the sun's rays, hearing the whistling thrush, surrounded by towering mountains, rows of pine trees and an ease that I had never experienced ever.
I breathed in so so deep! That's when I sipped in 'Quietude' ..