Saturday, November 24, 2007

Vantage Points

I am sitting here in this coffee shop like I always do these days. I could be here for the ambience, but that would seem grossly exagerrated. Coffee shops dont thrive on ambience alone. They are frightfully homogenous and that includes the comfortable chair I am sitting on and the pretty picture I'm staring at.

Or could it be the hot chocolate and Earl Grey that I like to order along with a biscotti and a chocolate chip cookie. But there is nothing fundamentally different about these drinks and the goodies I eat. I could be in Starbucks or Costas or Coffee Bean, and eating/ drinking the same darn thing. The hard work they put in to make it seem 'home-made' is laughable if one was generally cynical, but one ignores these minor flaws.

We just eat and drink and appreciate the not so perfectly round cookies because they seem homely, and the baristas appear cheerful whenever they see us. Of course, we like to think that its because of 'us' and not because of what we bring to the establishment.

However, of late, I've developed a wicked interest in these coffee shops. And no, it has nothing to do with fondness for coffee, and true as it may be, it has nothing to do with the faulty Internet service I've been receiving from my erstwhile ISP.

Of course, the poor service is my 'official' reason for being here, but that's not really true. I am here, also, because I want to be here. I like being here. I enjoy being here because of the shameless 'people-watching' that I can do here. I kid you not... it's an anthropological goldmine!

Just the other day, I saw a gigolo-ish kind of man being wooed by three attractive middle-aged and, rather, wealthy Filipinas. It was a sad sight. Here was this smart dude trying to comment on these women's looks and making some silly jokes. And these ladies were laughing at these jokes as if they had just heard the funniest joke of the century.

Then there was this couple who were engrossed in their own world even though they were sitting together. It's amazing how a space of few inches can seem a mile apart when lack of affection forces a distance.

And that day when I went to this obscure coffee shop in a mall located downtown, I couldn't understand what was going on between this young teenaged boy and a middle aged man who seemed to be doting on him. There was something decidedly unnatural about their interaction and though I suspected the worst, I was alarmed at my own sense of imagining it to be so.

But what I like most are families. They are always such a wonderful sight. Parents and children joking and teasing each other. Father and mother exchanging appreciative glances, and the sense of belonging that all of them share with each other. One cant help smiling when the little ones are let loose and they come and tap a chair near where I am. The parents expect me to smile at their little one's antics, and I dont like to disappoint them.

I imagine there is a story that is waiting to emerge from these observations. I can almost feel the inspiration pushing me to do something 'creative'. I imagine a series of short stories that could come out of these inspirations because every living being that I see here appears to be in a universe of his/ her own.

If coffee is the thread that binds them together, it is the epic nature of their existence (or so I believe), which gives them their power and sense of uniqueness. It gives me this vast canvas on which I see stories unfolding and tales just waiting to be told.

Question is, will I follow the muse or will I just sip my Earl Grey and continue doing nothing about it?

3 comments:

s.j.simon said...

lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this

gautami tripathy said...

Good to see you posting again.

And you must do something about those observations.

Ashish Gorde said...

Oh yes, I will... just need to do it, that's all, but thanks for checking. :)

goodness, simon, they banned chocolates...!!! wonder what the ban police will be up to next :)