A colleague of mine is leaving our company, which happens to be an IT major. If you have noticed, everybody always talks “Major.” Why don’t we hear somebody say: “My husband works for an IT minor.” Anyway, that’s besides the point.
Thanks to this colleague of mine, who called it quits…Rekha and I landed at Mocha, Chennai’s teenage hangout place, on Saturday evening. For the uninitiated, I think the hangout has been named after “Mocha – the main port of Yemen from where tones and tones of coffee have been exported to the World”.
For those who are weak in Biology…oops…why am I trying to change the subject here. For those who are weak in history, coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia. In the initial days, Ethiopia didn`t allow others to take coffee seeds – only roasted seeds were exported. It took an Indian to smuggle the coffee seeds out of Ethiopia and start a plantation in South India. This started a revolution of sorts and soon Europe in general and France and England in particular became connoisseurs of coffee. Thus were born, the coffee houses.
Why did we go thro` this history lesson now? Just to prove that the concept of coffee houses…is nothing but a bit of packaging done to what we had given the western nations – coffee.
When I was growing up (10-15 years back) we didn`t have coffee joints. If we wanted to have a coffee, all we had to say was: “Grandma, can you make me some coffee?” But then, we never said that because coffee had an old feeling to it …only the elders were supposed to relish it. The young preferred tea.
Anyway, Rekha and I landed at Mocha, at Kader Nawaz Khan Road at 6 p.m. sharp. As we were entering the gates, I saw a 13-year-old girl and maybe a 15-year-old boy kiss good bye. I looked at Rekha and said: “Even you don`t do that when I leave for office.” She just smiled.
Once inside, I felt as if I were a dressed chicken (a dressed chicken is the one without any dress – feathers). I did catch a few glances come our way. To look cool, we held each other`s hands. The last time we did that was while crossing the Nungambakkam High road during peak hours, six months back.
I threw in a few words like “Yo!”, “Cool!”, “Chill!” etc during my conversation with Rekha. She also tried her bit…but apparently these are words that ceased to be cool ten years back itself.
As a change in strategy, we decided to stand still and try catching a few of the words being uttered by the boys in baseball/basketball baniayans and the ladies in dangerously low jeans and noodle strap tops….but to no avail. It took us only two minutes to realize they don`t utter complete sentences – only adjectives & adverbs.
I think it was around this time that we decided not to try and gel with the crowd. Talking of gel, even the L`Oreal gel I had applied to my hair couldn`t be of any use.
As soon as I got the menu in my hand, I gave it a cursory glance. I saw names like Moroccan chicken skewers, Jamaican style chicken, Great Chocolate Shake, and Mexican magpies.
“Are these food items?” I asked the waiter.
“Yes sire. They are.” The waiter was curt. Perhaps, they have been asked to be curt with people above 30.
“Looking at the price, I thought these consumer durables.” I commented, which made Rekha giggle.
“No sire. Some of them are food items. Some of them just drinks.”
“Then why do you call this place a coffee joint? Why not a restaurant?”
Perhaps what I said offended the waiter. In a tone which very much resembled that of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he said: “Sir, would you like to place the order or not?”
At this point I let go and ordered for some of the costliest items on the Menu – one of the advantages of visiting such places when you are invited.
Ten-fifteen yeas back, I believed that such exotic dishes were found only on the menus of five star hotels…that too only because my father said so. My father`s friend`s friend, who was working for the Garbage Control Board, Tamil Nadu, had once found a five star hotel`s menu.
In this article we have purposefully not spoken about the six others who shared the table because we don`t know about their Ouchmytoe Quotient*.
*To know if you have high Ouchmytoe Quotient, get out of your chair in office, run into your boss`s cabin, pant like a dog and say: “Just wanted to say, Good morning.”