Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Cup of Joe

Did you see the Dilbert comic-strip today?

It's pretty funny :-)! I think I should also get one of those coffee backpacks. One cup of coffee no longer seems to have any effect on me keeping awake in the afternoons at the work!

I don't even remember exactly when I learnt to drink strong coffee. When I was small, like all kids, me and my sis had to drink two (sometimes three) glasses of milk a day. No coffee or tea though - only Horlicks, Boost, Bournvita and the like. Coffee/tea were apparently not good for health. My sister had no issues with this - she simply detested coffee and tea and was quite content with the other beverage mixes - or at least as content as you can be when being forced to drink a tall glass of milk. Me, on the other hand, always had a strange attraction towards the smell of coffee.

So usually, mostly on weekends, my mom used to add a couple of drops of coffee to my milk with sugar. It gave a coffee-ish smell to the milk and I simply loved it! I still can remember me sitting, knees pulled up to my chest on a high stool (yeah, those were the days when I could comfortably fit into such a small area) in a corner of the room as I drank it. I don't know why clambering onto the stool was important but it was a ritual for me!

Then, as I grew older, I started discovering the joys of tea. I still could tolerate only a very, very milky version of coffee. But tea - ah, that was something else! My dad is a tea lover too. During the weekends, mid-morning, dad would ask for a cup of chai. While giving dad his cup, mom would give me about two gulps of the tea in a tumbler. Dad and me would then drink our respective teas. Bliss!

As I grew older, my love for tea grew along with me. I still had to drink milk everyday but I could drink tea in the evenings. Tea was the first "dish" I learnt to make by myself. Given my addiction, it was easier to make tea myself than keep bugging mom for tea! However, during the "important" board-exam years, mom would make it for me if she found me studying late at night. But then, at some point, I was downing so many glasses of tea a day that my stomach started to hurt. Thus came the end of the endless-cups-of-tea era. Sigh!

Then, it was onto college. There, in the hostel, in the mornings, we used to get milk. Initially, I used to buy Horlicks, Boost or Bournvita to add to the milk and drink. But I noticed that the contents of the bottles got over pretty quick as every visitor to the room happily helped themselves to it. Really, the Horlicks "kudikka vendaam, appadiyey chaapuduvein" (no need to drink, I will eat it just like that) slogan never had better proof :-)!

In case you have never been in a typical hostel, hostel milk looks like white-colored water and is impossible to drink without some masking agent. Clearly, I needed something else to mix with the milk.

So, I decided to switch over to the instant coffee powder that was provided by the hostel mess. I realized that more coffee powder made me feel more awake (ah, caffeine) and the strength of my coffees started increasing! I guess undergrad was where I learnt to drink the non-milky version of coffee. I was surprised at myself - I was actually enjoying drinking something which I always used to claim was too bitter!

That was until I came to the US. For the first time in my life, I drank black coffee. Basically my lab had run out of sugar and creamer and I was desperate for something warm to keep me awake through the night. Black coffee served the purpose well though rather bitterly.

However, as compensation, my apartment had a tea-loving roommate. So we used to take turns making tea every morning and evening (if we were home). And then another cool thing happened. We got J as our roommate. If I thought I was a tea-addict, J must have probably been having tea running through her veins! She loved to not only drink tea but also to MAKE tea! I tell you, its bliss when you can look up from the book you are reading and tell "J, lets have chai" and have a steaming mug of tea placed in your hand soon afterwards :-)!

But soon, it was time to get to the real world and work. For the first one year of my work-life, for some reason, I never drank coffee at work. It was just tea. I remember my colleague saying "Oh, you don't drink coffee? Then probably you don't smoke or drink either." - LOL :-)!

Then at some point, I can't remember why, I started drinking coffee at work in the mornings. And then added a cup in the afternoons too! Sigh! Nowadays, I proactively make fresh coffee to drink if I can't find some! Naturally, now I am finding that the normal dosage is not enough to keep me awake (even if it is mostly psychological for me anyways).

That's why I am starting to hunt for one of those coffee back-packs!


bekhs said...

i decided to browse through your blog to keep myself awake after my afternoon lunch without having a cup of coffee! alas, now..Iam here with a cup of coffee after your description of coffee smell..irresistible!

Saranya Kishore said...

:--)) Nice post! Me a coffee lover head to toe. Coffee is an integral part of anyone's work life. :--D
Hey if regular coffee is not keeping you awake, you should try darker ones. It definitely does the trick :--)

I have reduced my coffee intake to only one a day, in the afternoon, and I soo look forward to it. I used to take about 4 cups a day, until I learnt that is suppresses hunger by dehydrating you. :--((

I am imagining a little girl sitting on a high school, with her legs curled, with a big mug of coffee in her hand. Cute! :--))

PRIDERA said...

I was a "Milk" person all through my student life ... was never allowed Coffee or Tea. My husband turned out to be a tea person and makes amazing tea. It was only natural that I was drawn to the distinctive taste of tea he makes. Have tried coffee a couple of times ... but its still "Masala Tea" for me ... now that you have reminded me of bliss, I should request him for a special cup of tea :)

T said...

no work gets done...
no day can start without a cup of coffee.

imagine this..
my colleague's wife gets up in the morning..prepares a whole big quantity of chai.. fills up a huge indian flask ( remember those ?) with it.. and he takes it to every meeting during the day.. uses the small cup on top of the flask to drink it up. ( and he sips through the whole day )..

Anonymous said...

coffee is the best drink ...
i think i have been drinking coffe sice in i was 6 or sumthin n im still living healthly(9yrs gone..)so why is coffee bad for kids does it make a chatter communicator(pardon had a lady from ALMAMATER
tell the diff between talk n communicate for an hour)...
anyway now i cant keep my self up in school without the morning coffee.ENJOY YOUR COFFEE

Archana Bahuguna said...

Alright, my comment is going to be long (after all u are talking about TEA and coffee)!

Coffee is nice but I like it mostly once in a blue moon, can have it everyday too (if there's no tea) surely no black coffee. But tea is above all. And hey, hope now you dont take a lot of black coffee, its very dehydrating and not good for health at all! :-)

And like you had lots and lotsa coffee in ur lab, I had once got similarly addicted to tea too in office. I really had to work towards stopping that; and 'twas the same reason, either to keep warm or take a 2 min break from work. With ppl working around in office, u dont want to disturb them and begin a chat, so all u do is go to the pantry, get chai and come back. :-)

Btw, loved all ur stories from ur childhood and the switching and swinging between tea and coffee. And those small little amounts of tea u got when your mom prepared that for ur father, me too! :-) :-)

And well, Inder used to be a no coffee no tea guy before he met me. :-) He wudnt take tea at all, but would like to have coffee once in a blue moon. Now he is a complete tea (n coffee) fan like me. Give credits to me for this! :-D

Great blog, loved it!

(ps: And now I should get the award of writing the longest comment in someone's blog!)

Archana Bahuguna said...

And for keeping u awake,(see I am not even embarassed in writing another comment, but this is out of concern ;-)) drink a lot of water, at least 8-10 glasses or even more; try it sometime; even better lemon water! Makes a hell lot of difference to your mental state! Hey, don't depend for beverages on keeping u awake!

Shilpa said...

wow such a big post inspired by dilbert !

I simply love tea. Ofcourse it no longer helps to stay awake but I've to drink it anyway.

I don't like coffee too much. I can bear only the mild flavors. We get this awful coffee in the dept which I drink every now and then...and everytime it somehow upsets my stomach :(

The Kid said...

So you emphathize with the girl huh, Madamossaile ? You never had to take a side, but sure you did. Victim huh? I have been apologizing to her as though I kidnapped her first born and still you rewarded with victimhood. hmmm.

I have you in my radar, my dear!
hu ha ha. Mu ha ha

Anonymous said...

Just saying a hello. I will also be tech-savvy to use a blogline reader.

Archana said...

bekhs - LOL :-D! Somehow having coffee has some kind of pyschological effect on keeping awake! BTW, are you my friend S by any chance?

Saranya - thank you :-)! Thats so true - coffee defines the work morning (or afternoon :-)) for most people! I am trying to reduce my coffee intake too - good luck to both of us :-)!

Pridera - Ah, same pinch! Wow, lucky you! Did you get your special chai?

T - so true :-)! Wow - I cant believe your colleague takes a big flask to all meetings - LOL :-))! But lucky to have access to home-made chai all through the day!

iamvisheshur - Tea is the best maybe :-) - coffee is second though!! Some of my collegues say that coffee wires them up - never noticed that effect though! Enjoy your coffee too :-)! LOL - please to elaborate the differences - or rather, please to NOT :-P!

Archana - atta girl :-))! I love reading comments - long comments are like surprise bonuses - so make them as long as you can :-D! Yet another similarity - I think its high time we started hunting for the mela in which we got bichadofied :-P! Thanks for the tips - I am consciously trying to drink more water these days. Also trying to replace my afternoon coffee with non-caffeinated herbal teas... lets see how that goes!

Shilpa - hehehe - very little is needed to inspire me to write longwinded posts :-P! I do know your chai obsession and the various combinations you try out :-D! I remember how we added lemongrass to the tea in your house when we visited you in Bangalore! Thats true - any kind of coffee has to be super-fresh for me too - else it plays havoc with my stomach!

Pratap - Hey, you make it sound as though I conferred victimhood upon her (ike Sainthood :-P)! You did what you could to undo the damage now - I think you should stop brooding over it, what say? And, hehehe, did you not read the second part of my comment? Never trust strangers on the internet is my motto :-P! Other readers, of course I trust you all :-P!

Nerd fool - hello sollitala - will add a link to your blog too :-)!

Inder said...

milk, horlicks, boost, bournvita,... i think they are drinks for infants and patients.

our national drink is undoubtedly the 'cutting chai'.

there is this 'indian coffee house' in pondicherry. coffee there is divine. a few years ago, my breakfast used to be a few cups of coffee and biscuits. my doctor said that i am about to get a stomach ulser and said a strict 'no' to coffee but 'yes' to occasional tea.

i am not very fond of the western coffee and tea. i have almost quit them. instead got addicted to cola.

Prabhu said...

Enaku actually antha Dilbert strip puriyave illa :( (too much english i guess)
I remember days when I was working in India, where we go to the canteen to take a quick coffee break, and it wil turn to almost like a dinner break, just bcos the coffee was so good..

Shilpa said...

Hahah I forgot abt that lemongrass sure helps to have a big garden to try out new flavors :)

One of the strangest combos was the orange peel masala tea :)

Cat said...


Archana said...

Inder - LOL :-)! I agree - chai is the national drink! Oh should try to go that place when I visit Pondi next! Thats true - lattes and chai-tea lattes can't hold a candle to the authentic Indian stuff :-)!

Prabhu - romba yosikaathey! Just look at the coffe backpack :-D! All my friends working in India have told me about their addiction to coffee/tea!

Shilpa - :-)! orange peel masala chai! Wow - that must have been something!

Cat - best what?

bekhs said...

you are rite. I am your friend S who is working hard nowaydays
:-) !!!!

Archana said...

Bekhs - LOL :-D - romba strain pannikadhey :-P!