Lifeline ku Whistle le Podu (#CoffeeChronicles)

There are a few words in the universe of words that are not merely words or names- they are an emotion. Similar to Mumbai is a city, but Bombay is an emotion. Ahh, I see a few ears tingling and eyes beaming into the screen already. Going by that, COFFEE is…no I am sorry, FILTER CAPI is an emotion. And did I forget to mention, it is of great sentimental value to the whole TamBram community.

You may argue, that I am being ridiculous, or filter coffee does not belong to only Tambrams. But dear trolls, “ekk chutki coffee ki keemat tum kya jano.” (google for meaning)🤘

My rendezvous with FC is not new. I was born with it. Every day of my childhood, I woke up to the aroma of FC at my house. Pleasant memories of FC tumbler in hand and the very horrific episodes when Paati would say, “coffee podi theendhurthu 😱(Coffee powder over)” still ring in my ears. I am not exaggerating, but the love for FC and the proud patent for it is in our veins.

Family is your first teacher and this is where the love for FC is nurtured. Not only do the households brag and dig into it, but every TamBram household maintains a round table conference as to which brand or coffee shop beans are the best. Houses have been destroyed on this. I remember my relatives discussing about a saas-bahu who separated coz the fight started with which coffee is better. As for my maika goes, my Paati was hell-bent on buying only Mysore concerns coffee from Matunga till her last breath. (I am not their advertising or PR agent). At a point in time, this shop started selling their coffee at local outlets in the nearby suburbs. But my Paati would rubbish them saying, they are fake and order my father to buy it only from Matunga. The tradition continues to date with the pandemic mongering on our heads. Now, in my sasural too, they are very particular on the brand of coffee. Wherever they go, whichever house they visit, once they are back home, they have only one point to say – FC was not up to the mark in their house.

TamBrams live and die on FC. Again this isn’t a pun intended statement, I have proof. (wink wink). My Thata lived on 4 tumblers of coffee a day in his last days. If we asked him, “Thata, please eat something. Will you eat some thayir saadam?” His only answer would be “cutting coffee” He liked calling it that way.😁

The world of cinema did not leave a dearth in celebrating TamBram love for FC. Every Tamil movie with a TamBram character has atleast one scene, showing a mama in veshti. On one hand, he will hold the newspaper and in the other a tumbler of FC. Every tamilian will also relate to the famous Narasus coffee dialogue, “besh besh rombo nalla iruku (wow wow very nice it is – literally). (Though my Paati would say -Narasus saata, thala narachidum 🤣- if you drink this coffee, your hair will go grey)

Now, this reminds me of one extremely important component. Again, it is a disputed ingredient to our beloved FC – Chicory. Many believe it thickens the coffee, giving it a strong taste. But some, like in case of my family, chicory is like an unwanted guest. He brings in bags of goodies but is in the wrong place for all the wrong reasons. If at all you suffer from acidity, the whole family will blame this fellow, (I mean this ingredient). If your hair, skin, excreta, anything at all in your anatomy changes colour or odour, you can point your fingers to this culprit.

From blending peaberry with plantation types A, B (they actually sound like blood types), to adding our killer mama (chicory), to carrying a luggage full of capi podi to San Jose – A TamBram has been there, seen that, and done that. So whoever feels that FC is a product of their love, I have only one thing to say to you, “Aap humse hamari zindagi maang lete, hum aapko khushi khushi de dete, par aapne toh humse humhara guroor cheen liya” (Hindi theriyum da, Tamilan da)

Paati: Grandma
Thata: Grandpa
Maika: Parents house
Sasural: In-laws house
Thayir saadam: curd rice
Veshti: mundu
TamBram: Tamil Brahmin

Disclaimer: The write-up is written purely for fun, not intended to hurt anyone. And I am not a TamBram fanatic.

(The little one photobombed , now FC is boiling in anger).

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Posted by on October 5, 2020 in Thats Me and my Thots


Only in my dreams – An ode to my beloved chitappa

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You remind me of ice cream cake
The big box of celebration with a rabbit face
Was it a reward or a punishment?
I choose to think of it as an encouragement
Coz you kept smiling and patting my back.

You remind me of the bike keys
The key that I never saw, the bike that I never rode
Still I always heard stories of them, the notorious kid, and the ever patient you
But you kept smiling and carried on.

You remind me of the diamond
The festivities that made the day grand
Maybe you were prosperous, may be you were in debt
I choose to think you were just happy for everything
Coz you kept smiling and danced away the pain.

You remind me of the smoke
The mess that you made
To drown everything around along with you
Still I was hopeful, still you were hopeful
Coz you kept smiling and blew the cigar again.

You remind me of the smell
The touch of the floors, the warmth of the walls
The loneliness of the room, the memory of a home
Still I believe you are as gay and peaceful
Coz you keep smiling and patting my back……in my dreams.


My Little Preacher

Weekend is that part of the week, which is ideally meant for leisure, spend time with family, friends and very importantly for sleeping. It is like the tiniest speed breaker for you to slow down in this fast moving, routine, neck cutting life of ours. But, here I was totally unaware of the small awakening within me. Gautham Buddha was enlightened sitting under the shade of the Bodhi tree, and here I was in an open sports playground for my Enlightenment.

Saturday, Sundays are usually the busiest part of the week for me; the whole family is at home (mostly expecting some new delicacy on the table each time they walk up to the table). Apart from the usual cleaning and dusting, I also teach classical dance to few kids in the locality. And to add to all this I do get away with little time to roam about in the surrounding area with my husband and kid.

One such Sundays I was out with my spouse and daughter to a sports ground of a renowned college nearby. My husband generally prefers that our daughter plays more of outdoor games as she is just 2 and a half and we make it a point to carry a plastic ball or a football along. The place is filled with a few athletes practicing shot put, discus, etc and few practicing football. Amid all of these huge gentlemen, my tiny little daughter was drifting along the wind to kick her stone weight football. My husband as usual was guiding her and showing her few moves and funny tricks to make her laugh now and then. I generally am just a spectator to the whole show and rejoice the evening breeze. The trees around the ground make it more scenic and beautiful with a drowsy weather that we are experiencing these days.

Suddenly out of nowhere she appeared. I dint see her walking into the playground, probably because I was engrossed in nature’s beauty, or maybe she dint want me to see her. She started playing with my daughter’s football; initially as a typical mother I felt it to be a nuisance. Later I realized she was totally indulged in the play and was helping my daughter learn too. I later called her to know her name. Madhavi.

Madhavi is a happy go lucky street smart sweet daughter of a construction worker. Her mother tongue is Telugu. Both of us couldn’t understand each other’s language but there was an immediate connect between our eyes. She couldn’t get my daughter’s name right too, but she enjoyed playing with the football.

After an hour’s play all were tired and we had to head back home. My kid and Madhavi waved their goodbyes to length. As I was rushing my daughter, I saw Madhavi’s eyes. They were stuck to the Nike football in my husband’s hand. As lightening strikes I realized the pain childhood can give you just for the sake of a ball. Her eyes, which were free of any sorrow or fear so far, only seemed to yearn for this. I realized that though we talk about giving our kids, education, nutritious food, safety, there are loads of kids out there with nothing and no one to care about. Imagine the plight of poor Madhavi if she had to ask her parents to buy a ball. They could not afford regular food properly; let alone a toy to play.

I wanted to give away the football so much, but it was my husband’s favorite. I couldn’t ask him, and not even leave the place without watching her eyes brighten up. That’s when I was enlightened. It is not enough to talk about and feel altruistic, it is about to put things in action and mean what we say. Which again is so difficult? We live in such a society that we cling on to material stuffs and forget our values when it is most needed.

I and my husband went back to the same ground the next day with a new ball we purchased for Madhavi, but we couldn’t find her. We had to leave the ball with the construction workers security head, who assured us that he will hand it over to Madhavi. He was very thankful for our gesture. But I missed the bullet, I don’t know whether it actually reached her, I missed the glitter in her eyes.


Posted by on August 4, 2014 in Puppet Show!