The ‘Terminal Experience’ of Coffee

This must have been my fifth or sixth visit to Nepal. Yet there was some excitement. I reached Mumbai airport. The excitement was about seeing the new Mumbai airport. The new terminal had just been opened. Only two days before. T2 as it is called. The terminal is exceptionally well designed. Very elegant. I checked in. Not much crowd there. Cleared immigration. The lounge is beautiful. I went to Costa Coffee. I am not much of a Starbucks Coffee man – I have stuck loyally to Costa Coffee. Fortunately it has an outlet in Korum Mall which is very close to my residence.

‘Coffee – One Americano please.’

‘No, we do not have coffee!’ 
I was speechless. What the heck? I mean do you ever expect that answer from Costa Coffee? What if Pizza Hut tells you ‘Sorry, we do not have Pizza, you can order anything
else?’ I knew that Shettys have stopped selling dosas, idlis and filter coffee too – they are in to dance bar these days. Has Costa Coffee also decided to open…… No, no. Something must be wrong. I asked him the same question – that begot the same answer. There was no alternative but to move to ‘Vaango,’ the authentic South Indian experience.

‘Vanakkam’ said the man on the counter. For some reason which I am unable to understand, South Indians think I am also a tamilian. Not just them, many others too.
The name Patwardhan sounds like Pattabhiraman. My only defence is that I can speak very good Marathi – unlike Mumbai based Maharashtrians. So if Raj or Uddhav declare a war on the South Indians again, having exhausted their choices, I can escape by speaking Marathi. But we are digressing. I was at Vaango!

‘Vada-Idli’ I ordered. ‘Idli Vada’ the man on the counter shouted the order to the boy who was busy preparing various orders. Yes Idli-Vada. That’s the South Indian way. You say ‘Vada-Idli’ and declare that you are not Pattabhiraman but you are actually Patwardhan. Marathi Manoos! Saying Vada-Idli is like calling a car Benz-Mercedes. Or Royce Rolls. Not done. The order is important. You can’t ignore it.

I then asked for coffee. ‘Make it strong. Filter Coffee I mean.’ I said as I handed over some money.

‘Coffee?’ ‘Saari sir, no coffee!’

There it is, yet again! I guessed coffee beans were in short supply and that the production of coffee beans must have been affected by inclement weather or El Nino. I could foresee what was coming up – there would be demonstrations against coffee prices, Sharad Pawar would intervene; I mean everybody knows these steps. But there was a surprise.

‘Why no coffee?’ I asked him.
‘Saar, we are still starting!’
‘What does that mean?’
‘No water supply.’
‘No Saar.’
‘So No coffee!’
‘No coffee, Saar.’
I walked quietly to the lift, I moved one level lower to Gate 85. And Oh, wonder of wonders! There was a Costa Coffee counter and it was serving coffee!

As in our Housing Society, the lower floor gets water first! Ha, ha!! Elementary, Dr Watson!!!


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