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The real chai

Recently, I’ve been conversing with a number of bloggers on WordPress about downsizing and de-cluttering. And about the opposite: clinging on to stuff, or even having it bestowed on us by family or friends who perceive we have a need for – well, er, more.

They got me thinking about being less needy. After all, what is there right in front of me in the garden is an open invitation to discover things that are new, fresh, unexpected. No two days are ever the same when you are working with nature. What does it matter what I have, what I don’t have, and what I may (or may not) think I lack?

So, when a little word popped up in the inbox and tempted my imagination to run riot, I thought: “No, hang on a minute, let’s pause, breathe deeply with the prana and then think carefully about what it really means to me.”

The word? Luxury.

Short, simple, sweet. And according to my dictionary, usually expensive, indulgent, pleasurable. Supposing we throw caution to the winds and think: Harrods; Fortnums; even Monaco. Whatever takes your fancy. The Latin root is luxus, excess. Or so the book says.

Actually I prefer to think of luxury as being connected with lux – light. And that brings me back to a blogger who has written beautifully about how much lighter and brighter a home began to feel as she consciously undid decades of hoarding, casting off the material obsessions, and with them the insecurities, of previous generations.

So: what would my luxury be? A morning cup of steaming hot chai. Into the water go all my favourite spices: cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, fresh ginger, plus black peppers, bay leaf, fennel seeds and a scattering of tea leaves. Infused for a good ten minutes, mixed with hot milk, sweetened with honey from “our” bees: there, in a mug, is the ideal start to the day and a sumptuous blend of aromas to waft around the kitchen for hours to come.

That clinches it, really: how many luxuries of the conventional sort leave a perfect after-taste?

Chai and coconut biscuits

Luxury as simplicity: Hot spicey chai and home-made coconut biscuits


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