Monday, April 27, 2009

Oh Coffee Coffee!!

Came across an interesting tidbit the other. Seems like Coffee is the second most shipped item in the world, after petroleum. Seriously.

Glad to know that the demand for the cuppa hasn't reduced despite all the downturns.

Kaappi and i go back a very long way. It is an essential part of the Tam Bram upbringing. The urgent demands to get some "Kaappi Podi Urgentaa" from the market, whenever a relative from the south would come by. The wonderful smell from the gunny bags in the shop as the boy in the "Chettiar Kaddai" (now that's an exclusive outlet, in Jamshedpur, if there ever was one) would lift a bunch of them in that weird shaped spoon.

The tiny pouch that would be the receptacle and fit in my tiny palms. The mad rush home when Amma would begin the process of making that "DecoGtion" which would act as the ultimate benchmark for south indian hospitality. That wonderful smell that would waft into all rooms of the house and me silently abusing those lucky relatives who would get a sip of that wonderful elixir.

Oh Yes, being a coffee aficionado in the heart of Tea(Chai) country was perplexing, exasperating and wonderfully rewarding in terms.

Moving to Madras(Yes, i still love that graceful old name for the city) was in small parts the equivalent of a pilgrimage for coffee loving me. All those wonderful shops of Kaafee Podis, waiting for me.. 

Alas, as was to be a trend for the rest of my life, rubbing my hands in glee with anticipation was always a precursor to the shattering of hopes subsequently. 

That vile invader called "Instant Coffee" happened. Battalions after battalions of the army of true coffee lovers fell victim to the pretender to the throne. In vain, did i see the weak of the soul fall prey to the sweet lies proclaimed in the beautifully shot ads. Oh, the enemy was well organised. He found allies in all parts of India. And the horror!! That last bastion of "Kaappi", Chennai, caved in and drowned in the sea of coffee packets!!

I must admit, to my eternal shame, that witnessing the loss of the nobility of the bean, scarred me and i hid. I hid under the rock of plain milk for several years, doing nothing. 

When Kaddai after Kaapi Kaddai shuttered their doors forever, i hid. When "Nescafe" and "Bru" became synonymous with the term Coffee, I Hid. 

When my Patti betrayed the elixir of gods and took her first sip of packet podi, I shed a tear. While I hid.

Oh The Carnage...

Now, as i come back to the battlefield, i marvel the efficiency the enemy has shown. There are no carcasses here, rotting away, oh no. The bones have been pecked and cleaned and all indications of blood have been wiped away.

the kingdom of the packet has also been butchered and swept away in the annals of time, by the Empire of the "Starbucks" that stretches across the globe. Truly, it can be said, "The Empire of the Cafes catches no Winks".

I am the last of my kind. I am a lone warrior, a pariah who is wandering the desert, in the search for my manna. I have sinned a hundred times, consuming cup after cup of that celebration of manufactured taste and smell. Yet feeling dirty, as a vampire who sucks the life out of the hope for a Kaappi revival.

Where are my brethren? Are there no remnants of my ilk, who dotted the landscape just a decade ago? Is there no one who will join me as we try to reclaim the holy land? Will no one heed my call, and join forces to defeat the greater foe, the cult of TEA?

I shun the sweet waters, I abhor the daughters of Grape.
I turn my face away from packets of artifice.
I live, therefore i thirst and wander weary
awaiting a return to erstwhile glory.

Oh Coffee Oh Kappi
How far art thou fallen.
Oh Coffee Oh Kappi
Vitality that has been stolen.