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Blue Tea

Anand Pillai Monday, August 8, 2022
Blue Tea

It was yet another Sunny day in Delhi. From the top floor of the Pragathi Maidan exhibition center, I could see the Supreme Court complex. On the other side of the road, lies the Old Fort (Purana Quila) which was built by emperor Sher Sha Suri. The majestic grandeur of that place bacons me. However, I got a mission; no sight seeing this time.

Working in food sector of Kuwait, I attend Gulf food show that is held every year at the Dubai World trade center. This is one of the largest exhibitions in the world with more than 4000 exhibitors from 120 countries. It usually takes four days for me to cover the entire exhibition, occasionally running into acquaintances from Kuwait who are mostly purchase managers, chefs, and business owners. I asked them about the biggest exhibition of the food and hospitality sector in India. To my surprise, most of them are oblivious of any such event in India.

That is why when I finally reached the venue of Aahar exhibition center in Pagathi Maidan, it turned an Eureka moment for me. The resurgence of the post-Corona market was evident everywhere. Not expecting such a large show, I have come only for two days, which now seems inadequate to cover more than 1000 exhibitors. I moved quickly stopping only at places of particular interest.

As a person working in the food sector, I have been curiously observing the emergence of Plant-based meat substitutes. Four years back, I attended some tasting session by European companies that developed these plant-based products, which feels and tastes like meat. This new product have the potential to solve some of the major problems that we are currently facing. Industrial animal agriculture is blamed as one of the top three reasons for climate change. Religious sensitivities related to eating meat and slaughtering of animals can be completely avoided.

I then stopped at the counter of Sanjay Malhotra who runs a factory in Ahmadabad which produces plant-based meat. Plant-based Chicken nuggets and the kababs which he served me tasted close to the original.

‘Indian companies understand Indian flavors much better than the European companies “said Sanjay while serving the Keema mutter developed by his company. Much to my surprise, it tasted like the keema that I occasionally take from the Hyderabadi restaurant located in Fahaheel. Lately, some of the international restaurant chains have made plant-based burgers and sausages part of their menu. Still, it did not gain popularity due to the high price. Now, these Indian companies could be a solution.

As I left that place, a big lobster swam into my mind. It was due to the news that I read the previous day. The UK is set to ban the killing of live lobsters by boiling them in hot water. Lobsters can live out of water for a few days. Most restaurants display live lobsters and let customers choose the one they want to eat. It is then killed by dipping headfirst in hot boiling water. This is a widely accepted practice in the food industry. This new regulation is coming due to various studies that say the lobsters have a sophisticated nervous system and can feel excruciating pain during this process.

Lab-grown meat could be a solution to all these problems. When I say lab-grown meat, it should not be confused with plant-based meat. This one is original meat grown and harvested in factories for that purpose. Single cells are collected from animals, and it is made to grow in a nutrient-rich medium, which is later harvested as meat blocks. This is a sustainable way of producing meat, and no animal is slaughtered during this process. Soon, we shall have lab-grown lobster meat also available in the market. This propitious technology can one day solve the world’s food shortage and vastly reduce the impact of climate change.

The counter next to that is the one selling melamine plates. The sales manager and the team were vivaciously explaining their products to me. I told them that the market is dominated by Chinese products, and we need to compete with them.’” Our prices are competitive. Logistically we have a big advantage. Chinese shipments must come through the South China Sea and then come to the Indian Ocean, whereas Mumbai port is very close to the Mideast” was the reply.

I went through numerous stalls and by the end of the day reached the Stall of “Monk Tea”. “Welcome to the world of teas ‘” said Naushad Ali who was dressed in a white suite with a red tie. I was then ushered into the tea tasting section. “Butterfly Pea Tea is gaining popularity because of it health benefits. This is a rich in antioxidants and is ideal to reduce the blood sugar level,” said Naushad while pouring the aromatic blue color tea into my cup, from a transparent glass tea pot. I found the colour of the tea alluring. Both ocean and the sky is blue. It represents depth, vastness and abundance.

Sitting next to me on the crimson sofa was Aparna Yadav and her aunt. Aparna is a fresh graduate of hotel management and is presently working at the Delhi Airport as a ground hostess. In her spare time, she helps her aunt run her bakery.

She dreams to become an Air hostess one day and her current job as a ground hostess is a step in that direction.

I told her that one day she would serve me tea on a flight. She smiled beautifully on hearing that. We finished the blue tea, said goodbye, and parted ways.

May her dreams gain wings and fly high. Also, my dream of promoting Indian products in Middle East market.



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Express your comment on this article

 
Jinu Thoma
Friday, August 26, 2022
Dear Anand,

Your story telling is second to none and I absolutely love to hear your stories.

Keep it up.
Jinu Thomas

Cks Pillai
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Well done, Anand. Very interesting article.

Jyothi v r
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Good crispy article, best wishes anand

Divakaran Ammanath
Monday, August 8, 2022
Dear Anandji,
Inspiring & motivating write-up...Your empowering positive attitude is reflected in the concluding lines..
Well done Anandjj... congratulations...

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