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!