i'm a coffee drinker. wait, i take that back. i'm more like a mochaholic. if i knew swimming i'd probably be diving off a high board into slightly lukewarm coffee. i dont know who got me started me on this stuff but till i did i was the poster child for complan. like the very nice complan boy, i too took off vertically achieving heights that few in my family had ever achieved. in fact when I was in my teens my mom ditched the step stool and ottada kucchi(the long stick with a broom attached to the end that'd remove cobwebs) and used me instead. once i reached the elevation where the loft was within my arm's reach, they promptly discontinued the rather expensive complan and switched me to the even more expensive coffee lest i get tired while working thus.
i fell for the trick quite easily. coffee was nice. the smell of filter coffee and the distinct sound that a full tumbler made as it clanked on the bottom of the davara were enough cues for me to wake up in the mornings. now i'm still talking abt the pre-qwiky era when the only hot drink that was cool enough to be drunk outside was a nair kadai single chaya. when i got to the US, i went through the experimental stage and tasted various beverages of varying temperatures and alcohol content. and when i finally turned to coffee at my host's place i hit the tasteless wall of instant coffee. having repeatedly seen that ad where arvind swamy happily gallops away to office after drinking this filter coffee doppelganger, i'd figured it wouldn't be that bad. little did i know that he was running from this crystallized abomination. i refused to believe in the granules as a manifestation of the supreme nectar and stopped drinking it.
it was at the height of my non-caffeinated stupor that someone pointed out a starbucks. i went in, ponied up my lunch money for a cafe latte (the menu has the right accents in the right places) and then promptly decided i would be a long term investor in the company. while the baristas smiled sweetly and swiped my credit card till the black strip wore off, my money mixed with theirs like coffee and low-fat soy milk. lattes and mochas and frappys took pleasure trips on my blood stream till one day ,out of purely non-monetary reasons (yeah right), i decided to try the coffee of the day. and hey with a little milk and about 6 or 7 packets of cane sugar it wasnt bad at all. i soon got back to eating lunch
i've moved on from starbucks since. i even subject myself to instant coffee as long as it has enough sugar in it to give the mug cavities. but like the millions of coffee lovers i'm thoroughly addicted to the bean to the point where i can probably snort it. Step 1 of the mocaholics mysterious: "I admit that i am powerless over the potent mix of dark french roast with skim milk." Having sampled most of the decoctions that the midwest has to offer, i'm sure i've tasted the worst cuppa joe's. it was at a burger joint that i won't name. but the best coffee, i havent had that one yet. a fine italian restaurant came quite close but it was still missing something. maybe i'll brew it myself . so in a few years when local.google.com hits chennai, look up "Okka Mocha" (TM). that's where i will be , davara in one hand, tumbler in another, serving up the best brew to chennai's millions.