Indulged


Life and its many moments keep unfolding each day. Most times, we are caught up in our routines and chores, not thinking about or dwelling upon what we do on a daily basis.

But yesterday was different. It rained non-stop, and the world outside was grey and wet. After a sumptuous weekend lunch, I retired to catch some shut eye. My power naps usually last exactly twenty minutes, not a minute more. That is my cue to get up and start the second half of my day, during which I also head to the kitchen to make our afternoon coffee!

But for some strange reason, I slept way beyond my twenty minute quota, and felt a deep laziness pervading my every pore. But the family coffee clock doesn’t stop, does it?

Soon, my husband made an appearance. He saw me napping, and left quietly. Then my daughter showed up in a bit and left too! I could sense them but was too lazy to open my eyes.

After a few minutes, when I was fully awake, I called my husband and said, “Can someone make coffee today?”

He said, “Of course, I can try…but it won’t taste anything like yours. Are you ok with that?”

Hmmm…the coffee taste is what it’s all about. I asked my daughter. She loves coffee too, and she has learnt from me…so there was still some hope!

She agreed enthusiastically. I watched the dull grey world outside, and mindlessly traced water drops with my eye, as they ran down our window. I waited in eager anticipation.

Photo by Josh Hild from Pexels

I mentally imagined my daughter heating the milk, and adding the decoction and just the right amount of sugar. There was a lot of noise from the kitchen. I could hear the clanging of steel. I wondered if they were making coffee or cooking a meal.

I hollered, “Are you guys done?” From their muffled replies I understood that they had spilt something!!! But I held my ground, and suppressed my curiosity to go and interfere. I sat up and smiled lazily….!

And in just a few minutes, my daughter walked in with a frothing cup of filter coffee. I took the first sip. Bliss and perfection. “You have nailed it!!” I said. My daughter smiled.

A rainy day, an afternoon nap, followed by a perfect cup of coffee not made by me! I felt indulged.

Bliss in a butter dosa!


The mid morning heat envelopes us.  My husband and I are in the city of Bengaluru, making our way through winding streets and small alleys that are crammed with shops that sell every thing that one could ever want.

The sound of blaring horns and moving vehicles is punctuated by street hawkers selling their wares – clamouring for attention. People are moving, elbows jostling, from shop to shop or hawker to hawker, inspecting clothes or kitchen utensils or fruit or flowers, bargaining, closing deals. Some people are oblivious to the cacophony as they plod on, expertly weaving their way through the wave of humanity.

My husband and I are working our way down the ‘all-important’ shopping list. After weaving through the labyrinth, we are finally done and feel a sense of accomplishment.

My husband suggests that we go to a small eatery called CTR (short for Central Tiffin Room), a small restaurant that has been around for decades. My husband raves about their speciality – benne dosa (meaning butter dosa). The dosa is a South Indian delicacy, which looks like a pancake. The dosa is salty and not sweet. It usually has a potato stuffing, and is eaten with various chutneys and sambar. 

I am easily persuaded. We walk down to CTR. We are given a table on the first floor.

We order the benne dosa and await its arrival. When the golden dosa arrives, I am in bliss. Golden crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, with potata masala stuffed inside. The chutneys and sambar are perfect.

The butter-soaked dosa is superlative. It melts in the mouth. Truly delicious!

Like true South Indians we finish with a cup of strong filter coffee served in cute stainless steel tumblers.

                   Bliss is in a benne dosa and filter coffee!

What time is coffee time?


My love affair with coffee did not start until my final year of high school. In our home, it was ok to drink coffee occasionally, but I remember smelling the coffee cup sometimes in my early teens, and grimacing in disgust.

I do not remember when or  how I came to love coffee. But I know that there was no looking back.  After that, any time was coffee time.  Strangely, coffee has also become an indicator of how healthy I am feeling on any particular day.  If I wake up in the morning and do not crave coffee, I know for a fact that I am coming down with something. 

Picture courtesy – Clipart Panda

I can wax eloquent about coffee,  but just thought I would jot down a few of my favourite coffee moments.

Coffee time is when I get back home after a long, tiring day of work.

Coffee time is ‘me-time’ in the quiet hours of the morning when I look within.

Coffee time is when it’s raining non stop and I sit on the couch and dream of everything and nothing.

Coffee time is also those hurried sips between chores on a chaotic morning.

Coffee time is catching up with friends on a lazy afternoon.

Coffee time is sharing some quality time with my spouse.

Coffee time is that ‘salivating time’ of anticipation when my filter starts percolating and the heady smell of coffee reaches my nostrils.

Coffee time is when my head is pounding and I know that only coffee will work that magic.

Coffee time is also trying to convince my son to smell coffee and become a member of the coffee club (right now he grimaces)….I am still working on him. 

Coffee time is family reunion time, after a wedding or engagement, when we gather for what we popularly call in the South – sweet, kaaram (spicy snack) and kaapi (coffee).

Coffee time is during picnics with friends, sipping from disposable glasses having lots of fun.

Coffee time is marathon catch-up sessions with my sisters..that stretch late into the night.

Coffee time is catching up with my mom, when I visit her.

Coffee time is …pure bliss.

Marriage in a Coffee Mug


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In the early days of our marriage, my husband and I went out one evening to a home exhibition and sale, as we were setting up our new home, and wanted to buy stuff for the house.

There was a sale on,  for porcelain kitchenware. I was drawn like a magnet to a set of coffee mugs, that looked like pieces of tree trunks, with gnarled knobs and ring patterns. They looked unique, and so inviting.

My husband did not like these mugs at all. He wanted something simple. We argued (must have been one of the first arguments, me thinks).  Finally, we agreed to disagree; and the coffee mugs came home. All six mugs are still intact and have lasted us many, many years. My husband has grown to like them over the years.

While the lasting love, commitment and promises are the foundation of a marriage, it is these simple things and moments that form the bricks of any marriage.

Be it about making up after an agreement, or letting go ‘for’ your spouse without allowing ego to walk-in to a situation.

It is about his choice versus yours many a time, and having the wisdom to disagree without malice. It is about the small joys of reading a book together or shopping for grocery. It is about egging each others’ fitness goals, and then also indulging in a huge dollop of icecream together.

It is about seeing yourselves in your children, and also realizing that your children are not you. It is about being able to laugh at yourselves and being able to cry together. It is about doing everything together, and then doing nothing together.

It is about watching movies and munching popcorn together, as much as it is about who will clear up afterwards.

It is this and that. It is black and white and all colours. It is about being a team, as much as it is about being two individuals.

It is also definitely about having strong filter coffee from coffee mugs that have witnessed all these moments in your marriage.

The Mandharai Leaf


Earlier this week, one of my friends spoke to me about a South Indian delicacy called Kanchipuram Idlis.  We then went on to talk about how these idlis are sometimes steamed in small cups made out of the leaves of the Bauhinia Creeper plant; locally known as the Mandharai plant.

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                 Image courtesy            
        http://indiabiodiversity.org

The leaves are big and have a lovely fragrance.

Picnics and train journeys in my childhood were incomplete without these Mandharai leaves, as all our food was packed in dried Mandharai leaves.

These were then wrapped-over with brown paper and tied into small compact packets with twine – one for each of us. We had freshly steamed idlis soaked in chutney powder, tamarind rice, lemon rice and the South Indian’s must-have curd rice.

We usually carried food that would keep till our journey ended. These leaves were easy to carry and easy to dispose, healthy, organic and recyclable.

We eagerly waited for the train to leave the station, just so that we could get started on our packets. Pickles were packed in another small leaf.

The Mandharai leaf lends itself so beautifully to creativity. Artistically- folded, dried Mandharai leaves can be made into recyclable cups, bowls and plates.  These are usually stitched together with strands of fibre. These cups are called ‘dhonnais’.

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                     Image courtesy
              http://www.spiceindiaonline.com

If you ever visit South India, you should eat piping hot Venn Pongal (a local breakfast delicacy) in a ‘dhonnai’, and wash it down with strong filter coffee.