Friday, 31 December 2010

India Coffee House

I don't know how long it has been around, but it's older than me. I remember Dad and Mum's startled expressions when I said I wanted to have breakfast there, like it was a miracle I even knew of its existence.

He took me there. It was our place, though he never attaches labels to places like I do. It was good. Untainted. A fresh start.

We walked in one summer day around Easter. And found ourselves a table by the corner, at the junction of a wall and a sheet of clean glass that looked out at the world. Like the life outside was on TV. Like we were on display.

The ancient waiter approached us young naive lovers with the wisdom of the world in his eyes and the pride of an age long past in the tall pagdi on his head. Like the attenders of a medieval palace, he approached us with quiet dignity and waited upon us with such proud silence that we were humbled. His entire life is dedicated to serving the likes of us and the rest. He is the manifestation of the ideal he has held dear for so long. 'Scrambled on toast and rose milk' I hear him say, ' What'll you have ?' 'Coffee please' I smile at the waiter, who at 80 knows what I at 21 mean by the gesture and returns it with ease.

I look around at the place brought down to its rustic roots. A lot of architects and interior decorators would be put out of business seeing the simplicity of the place made to look ancient. The mirrors, the posters, the elephant. The tables are the same, and I can feel him shift his knees in front of mine. 'You look beautiful today.' I smile. I look around. The people here cannot be stereotyped, cannot be categorised. There's an old withered Firang who looks like he has found home. There are a few college kids who seem to have found relief in breakfast. There are a lot of men scattered about, looking in turn with indifference at me, inscrutable glances, maybe judgemental, maybe at peace with a feeling or knowledge that is beyond me.

The old waiter in the pagdi is back, moving with a poise lost over several decades. I want to get up and help but I know I couldn't do worse if I slapped him in the face. This was his place in the world, a place he had filled for so long with such ease. How could I intrude ?

I watch the scrambled eggs get rained on by pepper. Tiny black snowflakes. My coffee is laid before me in a cup and saucer, in the age of mugs and styrofoam. 3 cubes of sugar sink in the murky brown.

He's telling me about the movie we'd both like to watch and it seems unreal, in this little hole in time, to be talking about action thrillers and box office ratings. I know he's filling up the silence with the mundane - it's what he does. He looks up, a forkful of scrambled on toast in his extended hand - there is no need to ask. The ease with which the gesture is made and received betrays the young and naive 3 years we've been together. There is an old man a few tables away; he smiles, he remembers.

I raise the cup to my lips, the gray white abomination of today, the chalice of yesterday. It is caffeine everywhere else, it is coffee here, the way it was meant to be - sans foam, sans chocolate, sans cream, sans any of the frilly corporate hullabaloo we spend big bucks on. Milk, sugar and coffee. No nonsense. 'How is it ?' he asks. 'Perfect.'

As we get up to leave, he leaves a generous tip and I know it's not generosity, it is a salute, it is a thank you. I look in the mirror on our way out. A young couple with breakfast in their bellies and content on their faces. The doorman holds the door open for us. A time warp, from where it turned back and stood still, to where it refuses to care. A wrinkle in the fabric of existence, as perfect as it can ever be. 'Come again' says the man who speaks no English. 'We will.' He smiles in understanding. We always will.

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Tuesday, 27 July 2010


Black, is the colour without which she is not whole,
Black, is the colour of her twisted soul,
Black, is the colour in which her world is embedded,
Black, is the colour you see when all has ended.

Her colour holds you in a grip so tight,
So tight that you cannot break the hold,
In her heart there is only darkness, no light.
With her colour she will make your blood run cold.

This colour is a weapon, it is her strength,
It is only in blackness yours seems spent,
And when she comes to you, you shiver and shiver,
Since there is no light in your blackest hour.

Nobody, nothing, can save you from her curse,
But your own will, and great courage,
Even when she attacks with incredible force,
You are your salvation's sole, available source.

She is terrible, she is strong, she has power,
But she can be conquered, you can fight her,
Though she makes you cry, scream and cower,
Because without her blackness she is just fear.

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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Concept : The Seat Below the Fan

Concept :

The effect of the fan is felt best in the seat right next to the one directly below it.

Logic :

If you -
1) are an ardent lover of adventure novels of stormy weather,
2) paid attention in geography back in school,
3) have been/are/will be employed in the country's meteorological department,
4) read the paper regularly,
5) are inexplicably brilliant,

you must be familiar with the 'eye of the storm' phenomenon according to which, in the area within the perimeter of the whirling wind, the weather is deceptively calm.

Similarly, when seated directly under the fan, one is in the area of calm i.e. the 'eye' of the pseudo storm whirled up by the revolutions of the blades of the kaitan/PSPO/*insert brand name*. Hence,
red X = lack of air current
                                                 ==> NOT COOL
      = perspiration

blue X = interception of air currents by self
                                                 ==>VERY COOL
       = lack of perspiration

So, do not fight for the seat below the fan. Fight for the one beside it.

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Friday, 11 September 2009

Coffee Rings

Things you should know about this post.

   1. I wrote this poem about 2 years ago with Metallica's 'Fade to Black' covered by Apocalyptica playing in the background. The entire poem was written within the span of 1 play.
   2. This poem can be found in various other places. I have a penchant for making myself visible.
   3. It was submitted for the college magazine but was rejected because the PG in-charge couldn't understand it. Actually no one on the editorial board that year understood it.
   4. It was untitled for most of its life.
   5. I think 5 is just about enough you-should-knows.

Coffee Rings


When coffee became cold in its mug
And endless hours of staring
Failed to ignite a spark in the observant eye,
Programmed swaying to mindless music
And reading reprinted word
Have all failed in bringing her back.

A note struck on the violin, she's old
In an age where moments stretched on
Like millenia. Sad thoughts plagued
Like Black Death on her frail self,
If does adversity strengthen the mind,
Hers was stolid, but failing now
In finding that purpose that was hers
And hers alone.

On the trail of finding herself,
Bent and broken, lost in darkness,
Stringing chords to make melody
Soon started sounding stale.
Everything was already done before,
No words, no notes, no melody was new,
But it stemmed from her soul...
Perhaps sown there on purpose -
'Tis indeed better to sway the masses
Than break a nation of individuals.
Now an eternity later,
It was the masses and she,
Her pride, snubbed snobbery, audacity,
Wouldn't allow mob mentality.

Those sheets, which lay bare before her
But a few centuries ago -
Reams now could not quench that
Wild passion that had deserted her,
Words, new, flowed from her soul
On and on, knowing no day, no night,
No rules of the chimer, no diktats of repose,
On they ran on worn feet
Like reaching no end, yet satiation
In bleeding soles on the trail.

Sense is not the fellow of love,
And love in abundance filled her heart,
Overwhelming in ruby light
That banished the darkness which threatened
To envelop her again.
All this insolence against the System,
Why ? But for the sweet glory
Of self satisfaction.
"No need for wreaths and applause.
My spirit and my soul are my greatest audience,
And every true compostion will
Achieve their appraisal."

The coffee has gone bad in the mug.
'Tis time to stifle Life
Under the cloak of Sanity
(Donned again) heralded back into
The world which knows no Rebel by
Name of Hero. Heresy is not a mode of life,
Nor an offence unworthy of reprimand.

Breathe again darling, breathe again.

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Monday, 7 September 2009

Final Destination

Would you were here with me,
Your eyes I could see,
I hold no fear of thee,
My final friend you would be.

I await your call my friend,
So together we can go
On our journey. Where?
I myself do not know.

So long as you are with me,
It will be a pleasure,
We shall enjoy the trip,
Yet be solemn in good measure.

Why you are feared, I know not,
But safely can I bet,
That your are friend, not foe,
Oh misunderstood Death.

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Saturday, 5 September 2009


The Art of Making No Sense.
Stringing words that are unrelated in a grammatically plausible sequence, then leashing them together in an idea so profound that :
- explaining it necessitates a whiskey on the rocks and a sympathetic friend
- understanding it is just a matter of saying 'so true' and 'absolutely' at appropriate intervals.
Abstraction is finding sense where there is none.
Sensible nonsense.
Absolute genius.

PS Antiquity - 'Guess I'm drunk all the damn time.' *hick*

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Sunday, 30 August 2009


In my experiences in the city (read Bangalore) I have seen many small cars with dents and other signs of damage like big gashes on the side, missing head/tail lights, cracked windshields and the like. But the thing is most of these cars are Altos.

Why the Alto you ask? I will tell you with a nice comparison with other cars.

1) Why the Alto and not the Zen - this is because the Zen is old and not in production anymore. What satisfaction would anyone get, especially a sadistic bus driver (nasty mofos), from making an old car look older ? I'll tell you...NONE. You tell me. When you're pissed off out of your mind, screaming for vengeance, do you go trash your grandfather's clock. No ? Good.

2) Why the Alto and not the Swift - the Swift is newer, more expensive. Besides that it's a nice fast car and regardless of the driver, it will avoid the damn buses. Unless it's parked. But that's no worry since buses don't 'regularly' crash into parked cars. They just do it once in a while. Either way, chances are that there's an Alto close by, sheepishly inviting trouble.

3) Why the Alto and not the 800 - if the Zen is old, the 800 is ancient...go figure.

4) Why the Alto and not the i20 - the i20 is so beautiful, no sane person or crack one for that matter, would want to damage something so beautiful. Besides the Alto looks quite similar to the i20 so it's almost like you're hitting an i20 wihout actually damaging that beautiful piece of machinery. Two birds with one stone or rather a KSRTC vehicle.

5) Why the Alto and not the i10 - the i10 is smaller and more difficult to hit and since the Alto is a bit longer, it presents as a more visually appealing target.

6) Why the Alto and not a mid size car - more expensive than the others and if it's a mid size car, someone with too much testosterone and nothing to do with it is driving, or a woman with a husband with same qualities as described previously is driving it and you don't really want to take chances cause those things are so low, they might just go right under the bus or help in flipping it over.


7) Why the Alto and not the WagonR, the Spark,the Estillo or the Fusion - hitting any of these cars or even contact with any of them is an insult to even the oldest and most beaten up bus, ksrtc, bmtc or otherwise.

And of course,

8) Why the Alto and not the Reva - bachche ko maaroge kya ? Going at a minimum speed of 20kmph you risk sending the car on a flight. No seriously. Don't do it.

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