May 20, 2008

Scenes from a Coffee Shop

Why do coffee shops refuse to make an effort to keep things quite? The posters on the wall of your neighborhood coffee shop promise to offer a quite time in which you can savor the darn coffee. A recent visit made me realize that a coffee shop is almost like a village market.

The promised moment of solitude is stolen away from you the minute you step inside. All the coffee shops have bad music at full blast. Some of these places have satellite radio. Beats me why do they unabashedly play the most hideous station? The loud bad music and the TV screen playing fast moving images from news, sports or music channels, which look the same, just about kill the mood. If that isn’t enough then the process of making a beverage is so loud that it’d make the dead get up. The way some of these people behind the counters clean the charred coffee powder from the filter would put a blacksmith to shame. The baristas often forget to shut the door of the cabinet that houses the blender. These might blenders might produce some great cold shakes but not before manufacturing deafening sounds!

The Barista in Priya is a strange place. It might be the flagship store of the coffee giant but it’s the worst maintained. The majority of the staff won’t listen to specifics of an order and even if they listen they will have the what-the-hell-are-you-ordering-and-why-the-hell-can’t-you-be-normal look. The place attracts all sorts of people and there is an undercurrent class categorizer at work. While the ground floor gets the foreigners, working class, singles and families, the yuppies, the groups, the lovers and the smokers all make a beeline for the top floor. If you order something from the first flood be sure it won’t materialize for an eternity. You might get a little speedy service on the ground floor but the noise would kill you.

In spite of all the noise some times you see a sight that makes you forget everything for a while. Yesterday I saw a couple in the corner next to the place where the blenders were at work. Every now and then the filter was being cleaned and cups being broken and people fighting but this couple was oblivious to all. The guy was from North-East and the girl was thoroughbred North India. The guy wouldn’t say anything. He kept looking at the girl and to my knowledge had drowned in her eyes. The girl would smile and mumble something at times but was largely amused by the ‘intensity’ of the dude. The girl was something else. I’d have forgotten the irritating sounds emanating from all the directions and aimed specifically for me had the woman wiped that stupid wow-I-can’t-believe-that-I’m-with-a-guy-from-North-east look from her face.

I wonder if caf├ęs in Paris would be so loud…

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