Like any child I grew up (if scrawny is growing) with milk. I detested milk but had to drink it. On fortunate days when I managed to escape my grandmother chasing me with a glass of milk, my mother creatively substituted it with a cube of cheese. But milk I hated.

Strangely it was reading that lead me to coffee. I’ll tell you how.

I suddenly stumbled upon success in later years in school largely because I liked to read. Even textbooks then became fodder for reading, when I had nothing to read. When I read, I lost myself in the book and retained what I read. Bingo! I did well in most humanities subjects (you don’t read books on Algebra, do you, now?!!!) and scored well (modest here) in my exams.

Nothing succeeds like success. I thought I was average. The world thought otherwise. Of course, the key to this was to read more and study more and continue building on it. So, when it came to the later years and the more important exams – the reading and rereading was all important. And for that the day was not enough.

Enter coffee.

As a teenager, I was allowed milk flavoured with coffee. Oh! What a relief. I never had taken to tea although I almost always brewed a light cup of very English tea for my Mother and a dark cup of full-bodied Indian masala chai for the rest of the world with great expertise. I just could not stand the brew myself.

Coffee was wonderful though. And as my board exams grew nearer coffee became the one thing that brought me closer to my books at night.

I’d put heaped spoons of coffee and sugar in a large beer mug (yes, you read that right) put in a few teaspoons of water and manually and mindlessly whisk it for about 10, 20 minutes – till it turned a pale frothy light brown colour. This then went into the refrigerator. At night when I wanted coffee all I had to do was warm some milk and dunk a whole spoonful of the beer mug concoction! Voila! My homemade cappuccino (I didn’t know that word then) was ready… foam and all!

This sugary sweet milky coffee brew kept me up all night and gave me a heady mix of a coffee-plus-sugar high, during which, I think, I was at my brainiest best. I continued this through my graduate and post-graduate studies.My coffee-beer mug and my night time coffee were my steady study companions.

The ‘coffee culture’ of ‘coffee and conversations’ or ‘let’s go out for coffee’ had still not set in. I asked for coffee in the oddest of places. I asked for coffee in the North. And didn’t get it. I demanded coffee in a Gujarati household (DON’T DO THAT EVER!) and regretted it. I asked for coffee in 8 member households where no one drank coffee. SIGH! Deprived souls.

Times have changed now. And with the cropping up of cafes and coffee joints and the cool factor for coffee has gone up considerably. I now find myself, by default, in the ‘cool’ crowd. Not of my choice or asking. Well…

Coffee fuels my thinking. As much as lack of coffee fuels my anger or irritation.

Those who know me know I’m a lot safer with a cup of coffee in my hand.

On Sundays my coffee cup miraculously empties itself without my knowledge.

There are days when my coffee does not work so well, but I forgive it anyway! That’s true love isn’t it?

When abroad I prefer carrying coffee beans back over chocolates or liquor or even clothes.

I read all recent research on coffee and ignore the one that say coffee is bad for you. It works.

Once in 2-3 years I give up coffee. For a month. It’s not a great feeling. I reunite with coffee fairly quickly and most happily.

I drink coffee and like coffee flavoured chocolates and desserts.

I like songs around coffee. Like Bob Dylan’s One More Cup of Coffee!

I blog coffee. Here’s a similar post on coffee! 

Oh, yes, I draw coffee too! Here are some coasters!

With age (don’t laugh, even you’re getting older as you read this!) my love for coffee has only grown stronger. I staunchly stand by the coffee flavour alone. No additives. Nothing artificial. No hazelnut, no cinnamon, no what-have-you. None or very little milk. And no sugar. No sweetener. Just coffee please, thank you.

I read a meme somewhere which said if your coffee order is more than four words you’re part of the problem. Well, guess what! I AM part of the problem. “I’d like a small Americano with milk on the side.” 

Happy Valentine’s Day my dear Coffee!