My better half (yes, in all possible ways) makes a surprise appearance on my blog again - this time talking about something that she can't live without. No, it's not me. So, today I turn my blog over to my lovely wife, Janaki, for a light-hearted post about something that is near and dear to her. Make sure you make yourself a cuppa before reading :)
The loud clattering of stainless steel vessels wakes me up from my deep slumber. I throw a quick glance at the pale blue alarm clock and groan - it’s almost time to get up. Pulling the pillow over my head, I try to go back to sleep. Just as I start to drift back into the land of slumber, the faint trace of a familiar scent wafts in from the open kitchen. Even though my eyes are closed and I’m drifting in and out of consciousness, I smile. As the clattering in the kitchen continues, I inhale deeply, the aroma now slowly making its way into my lungs, almost giving me goosebumps in the hot, humid 40 degree weather. I sit up on the bed and stretch my arms. My ears automatically prick up like Piku's, the stray dog we’d adopted once. Carefully tuning out the medley of discordant noises, they pick out the one sound that I’m looking for - the gradually increasing pitch of a thick, black liquid being poured from a height into a steel tumbler. I smile, for I know what’s coming next ; As if on cue, mother calls out - “Janaki, kaapi !!”.
I hail from a Palakkad Brahmin family and I suppose it goes without saying that this thick black coffee decoction is an integral and almost indispensable part of our daily lives. If memory serves me right, I was just shy of five years when I first had a sip of this amazing drink. And it’s safe to say that there has been no looking back. To date, I’ve remained a coffee aficionado - so much so, that I would gladly give up any of my three meals, if I can have a have a glass of “filter kaapi” in exchange. To me, perfect coffee is a harmonious and well-orchestrated symphony; every sip should be melodious yet distinct enough to transport the person drinking it to exotic locations. Drinking a cup of perfectly blended coffee is an experience like no other. The mere aroma is something that reassures me. As a child, waking up in the morning was always associated with the distinctive fragrance of fresh coffee decoction being brewed. Of all the memories from my childhood, this is the one that has lingered the longest. Probably because I still wake up to this “experience”, every time I go home for the holidays.
I still remember how my experience with coffee changed when I moved to the UK. It was the first time that this “country girl” (That’s what Sid refers to me as) had set foot outside India. Until then, my knowledge about the world of coffee was restricted to mostly the traditional south Indian filter coffee and instant coffee(s) such as Nescafe, Bru and the likes. Since I wasn’t exactly staying in a cave, I did know of the presence of other varieties too. But it was in the UK that I first realised the sheer number in terms of types of coffee. Suddenly, my “simple dual-coffee” world exploded into a zillion others - ranging from Espresso to Latte, Macchiato to Mocha, Cappuccino to Americano, and countless others. Not to mention the extensive varieties of ice-blended cold coffees (or frappes) that strangely most coffee shops sold a lot of, despite the fact that the UK weather was wet, windy and cold for most part of the calendar year. But as the famous adage goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do; so I tried and tested every single type of coffee available and finally settled on Costa’s Flat White, which was closest in taste to my beloved “filter kaapi”. There have been days when I’d take a sip of the Flat White and back home, I could hear my filter kaapi yell out in pain, at me having replaced him with a “foreign” equivalent.
Would you believe it if I said that the first thing I’d do when I came home for the holidays was to rush into the kitchen, open up the mini coffee percolator and take a deep breath of the decoction? No, I didn’t think so. But yes, usually that would be the second or third thing I’d do as soon as I got home. Even today, my feet automatically stop every time I walk past a coffee grinding store. I’ve had many a shopkeeper throw funny glances my way because of how I suddenly stop in front of their store and smile as I inhale the bitter-sweet smell of Peaberry and pure coffee.
Now that I’m back in India, I’ve been reunited with my “precious”. And I probably am in the best place to enjoy it the most - Bangalore. Since I’m usually the first person up in the mornings, I often have a quality period of “me” time before the boys rise and shine. Oh, the tranquility that I experience while sitting on slightly chilly balcony, looking out at the misty Bangalore skyline and sipping a steaming cup of filter coffee - I don’t think I have the words to describe that feeling. It's heavenly, to say the least.
Sid often tells me that coffee is that magical potion that can potentially turn one of my “leave me alone” comments to a peppy “Good morning, Honey!” one. Need I say more?
[This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. Today's topic was : What’s the one luxury you can’t live without? ]