Thursday, 15 September 2016

Filter Coffee

The aroma of filter coffee drifting its way to my nostrils makes me wide awake and hungry. The only problem is , it's not emanating from my kitchen . My neighbours are a South Indian family who have it everyday around this time . Perhaps the morning pick me up . There is something very special and magical attached with this smell of filter coffee. Something very sexy yet innocent with that exotic attraction which comes from loving something which you don't know completely .

Suddenly a craven desire for having a cup of filter coffee takes me over as I leave my bed and stumble in my bedroom slippers as I enter the bathroom to relieve myself . But it can't be . I don't have any of it at home ,right now. Last year , I had brought a small pack , more as a souvenir than a regular purchase , from my trip to Coorg. After about three months I suddenly remembered about it , still lying unopened in the closet. I gifted it to Murali and had a cup at his home . But that was with milk and sugar . The regular one .

What I wanted right now was a fresh brew of coffee , boiled from a finely ground powder of roasted seeds . I remembered my father as I washed my face , slapping water over it with my cupped palms . Then as I looked into the mirror , drying my face with a hand towel and brushing my hair back with my fingers , I realised how much I resemble him ,as I age . The receding hairline on my temples and forehead just accentuated the similarity.

There was no way that I would have green tea today as my first cup . Resigned , I tried to locate the small jar of Nescafe from the clutter in the kitchen closet as the water boiled in the electric kettle. I had to do with this . Not the original taste , but well , something was better than nothing . Instant coffee is easy to prepare . Not that I am averse to it but somehow I miss the aroma of the brewed cup .

With the first sip of the dark brown liquid , I made an involuntary sound of smacking as my nostrils gave in to the seductive smell . Well it was not the real thing but at least something nearer. That will do , my mind assured me as I moved towards the small balcony adjoining my bedroom.

Sunlight was streaming into the room through the glass door of the french window. Nowadays apartments do not have the old styled windows . It is more of a sliding glass wall on one side of the room with the other three sides covered . That makes it more lighted and airy . But it also means that you have to keep the curtains drawn or risk a voyeur on the opposite side of the road . Not that it was a problem for me . Because it was me who sometimes enjoyed a good peep show from my side . But nobody was there today .

Holding the cup with my fingers of both hands all around it , I tried to feel the warmth of the drink inside it as I took small sips , watching the morning scene outside the grilled barrier. It was a Sunday and therefore life was a little slow to start . Probably the hottie living opposite to me was also still in the bed . Maybe she was making it out with her husband . Catching up with the weekly quota with a vengeance. I suddenly felt jealous , then smiled inwardly at my thought.

But I was not getting over the aroma of coffee . Somehow it stayed with me . Actually this smell has remained with me since childhood. My father used to have a cup of filter coffee every evening. And he had it in typical south style . From freshly ground beans at home . Very unusual for a Bengali to do so and a source of amusement to many of my relatives who were at once curious and maybe derisive about this small indulgence. But he never bothered about it. I still remember , how after coming home from work and having a bath he would comb his hair before the large mirror fixed on the wardrobe door while my mother stood with the coffee ready for him . In a small stainless steel tumbler on a steel bowl. Typical Anna style , yes he loved it that way.

There was something about South Indian s that perhaps fascinated him. Maybe it was his association with them in office . In our childhood we made no difference between Tamil ,Telegu, Malayalam or Kannada speakers . All of them were Madrasi to us . And the best treat for us was to have Dosa and Idli at Madras hotel , in the town . On at least a Sunday of the month , Dad took us there on his Lambretta scooter and I always enjoyed the typical coconut oil ,coffee and sambar smell for an hour or so . Later in life when we visited Madras before they named it Chennai , I found that same smell overwhelming me . It has never left me. Strange , how the Madrasis themselves have changed so much but I am still with it.

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