The first drink I ever befriended was coffee. I was 8.
With fringes falling on my forehead and pulling a pink trolley bag, I headed to a boarding school in the hills in Nainital. I soon began to explore the school refectory and found that it had a long chain of bottles of Bournvita, Boost and Horlicks – and in the middle of it all, lay my little jar of coffee.
It was love at first sight.
So here’s how my coffee journey started...
Even as I started to take to coffee in boarding school, I was consistently scolded by the nuns. Yet I refused to abandon my friend mid-way.
I still remember one evening in school when my teacher found out that I had started hiding coffee powder in Bournvita jars (!). She gave me a long lecture on why coffee is bad for health but needless to say, I didn’t listen.
Boarding school was tough at the start but coffee helped me survive the ordeal of staying away from my parents. I remember how, during one of our many regular church mass evenings, I met a classmate of mine. Sharing our grief of feeling homesick, we had a long chat over coffee together.
It soon became a ritual.
Every evening, after school, we would sit together and try and hatch a plan of how we could escape the school that felt like prison, once our warden went to sleep! Whenever we meet today and think of those schemes, we can’t help but laugh. What remains common between then and now is that we still meet over coffee.
Our Friendship Grew With Age and Time
Coffee became not just my dearest friend, but also helped me develop a bond with others. It was during a visit to our local Cafe Coffee Day that I shared with my dad what I wanted to do in life. I told him I wanted to be a journalist. He didn’t question my choice of profession but made sure that I was aware of the challenges I would be facing ahead.
Today, I still call my dad “my cup of coffee”. Whenever I get stuck in a difficult situation, my dad (just like coffee) calms me down.
When I gained admission to one of the best journalism colleges in the country, the first person I called and celebrated with, was my dad. We celebrated not with champagne but with a steaming hot cup.
Coffee Makes Memories Wherever It Goes
From Cafe Coffee Day to Starbucks, coffee has many new ‘versions’ but I am still fondest of the cup I make for my mother at home, adorning the cup with a tinge of chocolate foam on top. The endless talks in the balcony in the evening with my mom, while sipping that coffee, is my favourite time of the day. I have a heart full of things to talk about and she, like forever, listens to me like a counsellor.
I still remember the time I made a terrible blunder in my first job. Instead of scolding me, my boss came to me and said, “Come, let’s have a cup of coffee.”
He acted like nothing had happened and at the same time started narrating the biggest blunder that he had made in his first job. Sometimes you make mistakes without being aware of them but if you have the right senior to guide you, it all works out in the end.
That conversation over coffee taught me my very first lesson in my very first job.
From school to college to my first job, these coffee moments have left an indelible imprint on my mind.
And just like memories, I like to think of coffee too as everlasting!