Thursday, April 24, 2008

Kaapi to Coffee

When in Tamil Nadu, the two things you absolutely must not say aloud are these: That Rajnikanth is Maharashtrian and that coffee is not native to their land!It still shocks many Indians when they learn that coffee was actually brought to India as late as the 16th century A.D , by a muslim pilgrim, Baba Budan. In his zeal to share what he'd found with his fellows at home, he smuggled seven coffee beans out of the Yemeni port of Mocha, wrapped around his belly. On his return home, he settled himself on the slopes of the Chandragiri Hills in Kadur district, Mysore State (present day Karnataka).Ever since Kaapi(coffee) has become as much a part of the south Indian morning routine as the suprabhatam.
Wrote Rev. Edward Terry, chaplain to Sir Thomas Roe who was ambassador at the court of Emperor Jehangir, in 1616 A.D"Many of the people there (in India), who are strict in their religion, drink no Wine at all; but they use a Liquor more wholesome than pleasant, they call Coffee; made by a black Seed boiled in water, which turns it almost into the same colour, but doth very little alter the taste of the water: notwithstanding it is very good to help digestion, to quicken the spirits, and to cleanse the blood."Subsequently, the first Indian coffe house, The Madras Coffee house opened in Madras(now Chennai) in 1780, after the battle of Plassey, by Messrs Jackson and Barret of the East India Company.
Historical references tell us that much. However, to know the story of how, Coffee thus far an Arab / Muslim / European experience, percolated into the South Indian, and particularly, the Tamil Brahmin household, we take clues from Tamilian literature. From the novel Devadasi, written by Kasturi Srinivasan, we can be sure that Tamilians continued to view the drink as an expensive (and simultaneously, unclean as it was in vougue with the European Aristocracy) liquor until the early 1900s.Then it was popularised by the Indian coffee houses run by the Coffee board in the 1940s(The delhi branch still exists today at Connaught Place).
It became the drink of millions after the emergence of more popular Indian Coffee Houses in mid 1950s.The Malayali book,Coffee Housinte Katha by Nadakkal Parameswaran Pillai, that was released in the 1950s was and still remains, a delightful read forevery coffee lover.
Indian filter coffee even migrated overseas in the early 20th century to Malaysia and Singapore, where kopi tarik (pulled coffee) is a close cousin of the Kaapi, and was introduced at roadside kopi tiams run originally by Indian Muslims. Eventually, after the economic reforms, many foreign brands have flooded the market(Barista and Cafe Coffee Day being some of the more popular ones).
As we enter the Twenty first century, the traditional Kaapi is slowly becoming a sober drink of the older generation, as Esspressos, Mocchachinos and Cafe Lattes find favour with the youth. Most traditionalists are of the opinion that "India needs a coffee Renaissance, as these corporate coffees are mild, luke warm, and usually, the best thing about them is the graphic on their cups!" But that, as they say, is a matter of Opinion.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

de light

A walk down the aisle
with a marlboro de light
Welcome to my world
they'll say
But me, I'm lost

I really want to know.

Marlboro (de)Lights

At first, the ground trembled, as though apprehensive as to what to do next. A fierce wind blew that turned itself into a death incarnate tornado, the seas ran backwards into the rivers and the rivers deposited themselves at their sources now! Villages and towns flooded, cities saw buildings crash to the floor like a pack of cards. Nature did not seem quite so apprehensive now. Horses begot dogs and the milk curldled in the udders of the cows, new born babies gave death defying stares but refused to cry. Super computers infected themselves with viruses. Bugs, cyber and normal, were crawling all over the place.
These were the minor deviations observed in this planet, we lovingly call, the earth, as Booty lit a Marlboro.

Booty walks warily down the street,
With the brim pulled way down low
Aint no sound but the sound of his feet,
Machine guns ready to go
Are you ready, are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust, sang Freddie Mercury of Queen, as i listened to Superroboninjamonkeyhyperbitch, inform me gleefully, that the Suttah hating saint's lips were now subject to the hitherto unexperienced pleasures of burning tobacco, his lungs filled with the dark delights of tar, ya basically, Booty smoked Goddammit!!
This is going in my blog, i yell, this is so going in my blog, i add, somewhat unnecessarily and also incorrectly, grammatically speaking.
Messages from friends and not very well wishers flood my screen. New chat invitations proclaim the legend,
Booty is now a chimney
Maine Suttah maara,
and so on.
Is it going to be a one time thing, or is it going to be the thing that will define his life henceforth or is it going to be one of the million possibilities that lie in between, we dont know. As of now, being a hopelessly family guy, i can say only one thing, his brother will be proud.....

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Gang wars? Caste fights?

As the last ray of sunshine withdrew from the rather lonely road located indistinctly in the locality of Lawson's Bay in the erstwhile colonial town of Visakhapatnam, two bikes, a honda dio and a seebeezee zooming unseen until then skidded to halt. The road infront was blocked by three bikes. The opulent stickering proclaiming the make and the brand of the bike went unnoticed thanks to the rather menacing demeanour of the riders and their rearseat accomplices. The six guys made a beeline for the dio, its occupants, V and me got off my bike a trifle unsteadily, R on the seebeezee, fervently hoping that the delegation was oblivious to his prescence zipped off without looking back.
"So you think meeting my girl at CCD is really cool, huh?" thundered biker 1
I put my hands in my pockets.
For the benefit of the readers who might mistake this as an act of bravado on my part: i did not want the guy to know my hands were shivering.
"Say something you Goddamn neuter!" he yelled
"We've known her since school, shes our friend," V ventured.
This retort earned V a recitation of the most choice abuses, linking V in coition with almost all of his kin, both male and female. He then twisted V's genealogies and finally ended by invoking a rabid dog to munch my friend's - I'm sure you all know what.
Friendship is a strange thing. Well, strange enough for me to push a guy with a backing of five hooligans and spit out at him, "If the problem is with me, face me, bitch!"
I regretted it the next second.
In a flash, three guys had me pinned to a tree. biker 1 advanced on me. It took the better part of my will power to stop myself from begging him to let go of me. Pride-stranger still.
In typical movie fashion, he lit a cigarette, blew the smoke on my face.
wills navy cut, i thought to myself inspite of my plight.
"Bada hero banta hai?!" popular phrase, courtesy the hindi film industry. trying to play the hero, huh?
He then deliberately advanced his hands towards me, the cigarette dancing inbetween his expert fingers. A second later an almighty singe on my collar bone told me he stubbed the cigarette out right under my neck.
The pain wasnt much, but the unfairness of it all made me indignant. It was my turn to swear.
I informed anybody who would listen that biker1 took pleasure in copulating with the vilest and tiniest of insects since they were the only creatures small enough to be pleased by his absurdly microscopic danglers. I too twisted geneaologies, forged his kinship with his next door neighbours. Then, just as i started to inform him as to what an obscenely mutated donkey with 3 heads suffering from foot and mouth diseases would do to him, i was rudely interrupted by the sound of revving engines of five bikes.
In the next five seconds, the situation had reversed, R pinned biker1 to the tree and my chuddibuddy, B's gang surrounded the 5 hooligans. I was rather harsh in judging R, he did not run away, he had taken off to aid the occurance of a larger good.
I dont think we ever realise that the worst thing someone can do is to strike when the enemy is down. However, I wasnt in a state of mind to observe philosophical niceties.
quid pro quo, I snarled as the back of my palm connected with his jaw causing a dull thud and a scream of agony.
Well, Avenger probably does feel like God because as R held down biker1's hand spreading out his palm, B rode his Avenger slowly and deliberately over biker1's hand. A wierd crunching sound and his hand was a bloody mess. Dirt and goo mingled with scaled shreds of skin and bright red blood.
I left Visakhapatnam the next evening (thankfully in one piece, because apparently B was something of a BigB to all the local hooligans) and i didnot see biker1, nor do i know his name, i certainly hope i dont see him again, so the tale ends there, or so it should have, but for a tiny doubt that was nagging me at the back of my mind. She was not anybody's girl. So who the hell was the guy.....
So i call up BigB from hyderabad, we exchange niceties. I thank him again profusely for saving my life and once again a hindi movie phrase makes its way into the story, there are no sorries and thank yous in friendship, dude, he informs me.
"By the way, BigB, who the hell was that guy?"
"Chuck it, bhai, You wont understand."
"Try me"
"OK, it was a caste thing. You being a Brahmin, dated a girl from the merchants' caste (which was biker 1's caste too), so the poor bloke just wanted to issue a warning, but what apparently incensed him further was the fact that V was from the same caste as those guys. Thankfully I'm from the scheduled castes and so could save you that day. Heavens help you if you date an S.C......"
And i thought we had stumbled into the twentyfirst century!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


i lie when im bored
i eat when im cold :)
with a nascent and recent affinity to sci-fi
i love samit basu
(hope he's not too old)

chocolates and coffee, a blessing in disguise
i care no flute about how i look
gymming to me is the worst way to exercise!
tom and jerry is the best cartoon!

i think too much
yet too little
there are things untold
and things unwritten

crazy moods
crazy life
crazy me
but hey this is my life :D