Category: If we were having coffee

If we were having coffee …. 4

If we were having coffee …. 4

Picture courtesy: PIXABAY
If we were having coffee… 
I’d invite you home today because I’m feeling a tad down. That perfect cup of coffee served by a professional on a neat little tray is tempting for sure but today I need the comfort of home. I need to curl up my feet on the sofa for a long chat, no matter that the cup is not designer or that Marie biscuits don’t measure up to the brownies. Maybe I’d invite you to my kitchen and we could take turns at beating the coffee. That’s your favourite kind, I know, and mine too.
Once it is poured, sweet and frothy, we could settle down to our conversation.
I’d probably ask about your days and tell you about mine. It has been a long and exhausting fortnight, with the maid on leave, the kids on holiday and husband home too.
I’d tell you, a trifle guiltily, that much as I love them all, I cherish my alone time. I’d tell you how I savour the silence. The absolute quiet as I tap at my laptop. The single cup of tea on my side table. Or the mindless chatter of FM (that no one else seems to have the patience for) while I go about my chores. I miss all of that. I need it to get me through the craziness of the rest of the day.
I’d tell you about the twin’s academic pressure that seems to have suddenly multiplied many fold and hangs like a dark shadow on me, always. Somedays, I’d tell you, I cannot sleep from worrying about them.
Mercifully (?) the kids seem completely unaware of it but that makes me worry even more.
How can they not care? Is it okay for children to be so completely unconcerned? Are they too young? Am I expecting too much from them? I look at the mums around me. I see how they urge their kids on and I feel hopelessly inadequate. I am just not capable of pushing mine. Am I doing enough to help them? Or am I letting them slide into laziness by expecting too little? Am I taking away their chance at a better life by not egging them on?
It’s hard. This not knowing. Like walking blindfolded.
You don’t have an answer either. I know. But simply telling you how I feel lifts my spirits just a bit. You’d probably smile away my fears telling me I was over-thinking. ‘They’re just ten’, you’d laugh. And you’ve no idea how that would reassure me. Yes, they’re just ten. They’ve just started secondary school. They’ll settle, their grades aren’t bad.
We’d lift our now cold coffees and smile at how that always happens – how conversation takes over coffee. I feel sorry for having monopolised it all the way today. 
And yet long after you’ve gone and I’m getting on with my day, I remain grateful for your presence. I send out a tight mental hug for friends who let me voice my thoughts and fears no matter how unfound, how stupid they might be.
If we were having coffee together… 3

If we were having coffee together… 3

If we were having coffee together dear friend, I’d have lots to talk about because my once-in-a-year trip home makes me garrulous. And if you’d raise your eyebrows at the word ‘home’ I’d reiterate that no matter where I go or how many houses I buy or live in, home will always be my hometown. That’s the city I grew up in, the city my parents still live in, the city where I, quite unrealistically,  expect to bump into a familiar face at each turn.


If we were having coffee together….

I’d tell you how I squeak like an over excited child each time I spot a sign of development here. ‘Ah the university got a makeover’, ‘Wow a new flyover’, ‘Ooh an authentic Italian joint, a yoghurt parlour’, ‘My goodness how many coffee shops are there?’
And yet, I’d tell you how I look out for the well-loved and the unchanged bits even more eagerly – the chikan shops, the gorgeous monuments that dot the city that I barely noticed when I lived here, a favourite kadamb tree, the gulmohur lined avenues, the thandai, mithai, chaat and biryani.
Most of all I’d tell you about the people. People, who are bound to me with nothing but simple bonds of love. I’d tell you about the chachaji at the paan shop who continues to give me free meethi saunf just as he used to when I was a toddler, or the thandai wale chacha who refuses to charge us if he spots me. ‘Ghar ki beti hai,’ he says, ‘paise kaise le skate hain hum?’
I’d tell you about the people here, who still exude an old world charm… the time my mother-in-law and I were arguing over who would pay for the vegetables and the vendor calmly took it from my MIL saying, “Betiyan toh mehman hoti hain’. It sounded incongruous – a guest in my own home? How exasperatingly old-fashioned! Yet I could argue no further.
Then there was the time we got stuck at a narrow curve on the road. ‘Peechhe lo’ said the driver of the oncoming car. ‘Lo nahin lijiye hota hai’, admonished my sister as she reversed the car. I cringed waiting for the angry, impatient rebuttal but the driver, a barely literate stranger, gave her a sheepish apologetic smile as he drove away.
If we were having coffee together…. 
I’d tell you how it warms my heart to see these tiny courtesies thriving here, how I cannot but smile when I hear the aap and the ama floating on the breeze, even as ‘dudes’ and the ‘bros’ make space in its vocabulary.
Yeah my city is changing, becoming more like a metro with all modern conveniences even as it loses some of its character. That is bound to happen, and that’s good, that’s progress, I tell myself. And yet when the old-world ways show up unexpectedly, as they are wont to do for they are part of its personality, they are ever more quaint and comforting.

If we were having coffee together….
I’d invite you over to this city known for its relaxed evenings, I’d invite you to come experience a sham-e-awadh.
If we were having coffee … 2

If we were having coffee … 2

If we were having coffee I’d probably be gushing today because I’m H.A.P.P.Y. You’d have to struggle to get in a word but you might as well give up because I’m too excited to let you have your turn. And then when you’d throw up your hands in despair because I wouldn’t be making any sense in my eagerness to explain, I’d calm down enough to tell you that I was  going on a holiday… with friends… just us.

Our coffees would lie untouched as I’d go on about how excited I was because it was the very first time I was doing this in ten whole years – since I had the kids. The only other time I travelled without them was for my sister’s surgery so that didn’t really count (even though it turned out to be a kind of a Roman Holiday for me).

And no matter how much you rolled your eyes (because you’re the cool, calm, collected kind of friend) or tried to say it wasn’t a big deal my spirits would refuse to dampen because it was a big deal.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you of the crazy bunch I’m going with. How one was only thinking about the clothes she’d carry and the pictures we’d click while the other couldn’t stop dreaming of strawberries and cream. And I’d tell you how all I was looking forward to was a clean quiet room to revel in for one whole day.

‘Drink your coffee’, you’d say and then proceed to ask How? What about the kids? And a tiny line of worry would probably cloud my forehead as I’d reach for my coffee and, even though I was feeling a tad unsure, I’d tell you they were well looked after in my absence. As I assured you I’d probably be reassuring myself too.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you about my SIL who had volunteered to take care of the kids. And then as I would think of her calm smiling face the worry lines would melt because I know she’s good with them. She’d make sure N had a tiffin of her choice, she’d run after H mock threatening to embarrass him by hugging him as she dropped him off to school, she’d pamper them silly and they’d probably think I was back too soon.

And as I tell you this I’d fill up with gratitude for a wonderfully supportive family; for having people in my life who step in to lend a hand without my asking; who brush away my guilt trips with their no-nonsense talk.

I’d tell you how grateful I was for the way the kids had handled it with N making me promise to send her selfies ‘on Bua’s phone’ while H had sacrificed a birthday party without much of a tantrum.

As we would drain our cups I’d feel better for having talked to you, for having aired my worries and chased them away. And I’d tell you how grateful I was to have you to share my joys and sorrows always.

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#If we were having coffee….. 1

#If we were having coffee….. 1





If we were having coffee … I’d tell you how wonderful sisters were. I’d tell you about the marvellous week I just spent with mine. Then after I realised how I’d gone on and on about what a rare treat it was to have S here and what a terrible pity it was that we did not live together, I’d probably ask you about yours. I’d enjoy listening to you because I’d find us in your sister-tales. Then you and I together would shake our heads in amazement, wondering how little sisters went from being complete pains when they were young to such soul mates when they grew up.

If we were having coffee … I’d probably complain a bit, for which coffee session is complete without some grumbling? I’d grouse about how H decided to fall ill just as S landed and kept us housebound much of the time. But then I’d also tell you about those endless chat sessions we could indulge in talking, arguing, agreeing sometimes and agreeing to disagree at others.

If we were having coffee … I’d moan about not being able to catch The Intern together as we’d planned. But then I’d also tell you about the film we did manage to watch on the tele. And I’d tell you how we sprawled on the ground laughing together as she wiped off imaginary sweat from microwaving popcorn.

If we were having coffee … I’d share with you what fun it was to team up with her to tease the twins. And I’d tell you how we almost choked on our food laughing at them as they got more and more worked up.

If we were having coffee … I’d tell you about our coffee shop adventure – how we drove away from at least four of them till we found one that was suitably empty. And then laughed at our penchant for brink-of-bankruptcy coffee shops that nobody else went to.

If we were having coffee … I’d probably seem in a bit of a rush now that she’s gone and all the tasks that seemed so inconsequential till she was here suddenly seem to rush up and inundate me with their urgency. Yet I’d sit down for that cup of coffee because I need a bit of comforting and I’d be consoled with your presence. Then I’d send up a thank-you prayer for a family full of friends and friends who have turned into family.

What would you share if we were having coffee?