It is time to hop over to Amba Bhavan Coffee Club. It opens at 07:00. However, we are in lockdown. So i go to a memory of the breakfast there a couple of weeks ago and dream of the next one.
Last time, i had entered at 07:00, with the person who sat behind the counter. As i relished a plate of idli with coconut chutney and wada with a spicy sambar, i heard the word ‘sheera’. It hung in the air, dropped into the left ear and lodged itself in me.
A few minutes later, i was licking sheera off the plate and enjoying the effects of a sugar rush. As i sipped on a filter coffee to top up and waited for a parcel, the people serving were yapping between themselves and with the people who were trickling in. It seemed intimate and peaceful, in line with the name of the place — Amba Bhavan Coffee Club. They knew each other and on seeing how i had been greeted, i could sense a growing recognition in me and in them.
As i was paying and saying goodbye, there was a stark realisation.
It is the people food is shared with, or the people around, who also make food what it is. Taste is not the only important factor. The flavour is added by the setting. I am realising this all over again as i wait for the lockdown to lift.