It was eleven o’ clock in the… morning (sorry, I hesitate, because the last time I called 11 AM morning, I was close to being disowned by my family, and close to disowning my phone for its treacherous alarm system), and I was halfway through typing a message to my friend. Replete with my usual wineglass emoji, and the sudden appearance of the heart-eyed smiley-face (I like to surprise myself), I wrote: “I am getting married to this café.” Then I heard a voice, at the back of my head, screech, Which part of your mentality is supposed to bear responsibility for this outrageous decision, young woman?
At first, I wondered why I was envisioning my grand-aunt speaking these words, and why they seemed to be dubbed by Dolores Umbridge.
In an attempt to answer that phantom crossover, I decided to break out of my bloggers’ block.
In the midst of being annoyed, enraged and anxious in the past week, I have also been rather happy.
There are little joys to be found everywhere. Especially in,
– Late afternoon Park Street
… and long walks through the throng of urban food joints and favourites like Maggi Point, the crisscrossing traffic; stopping in front of Oxford Bookstore for a few seconds even when I’m in a hurry, as though two old lovers are exchanging a civil nod from the opposite banks of a river of people.
Why, if I have been attending college in the vicinity for the past two and a half years, are these bubbles of emotions just arriving now?
I believe there’s something about time that makes fondness bloom at odd, unanticipated moments. The notion, that the rainclouds of your life has been showering memories in this place, and for quite a long time, for which it needs its necessary rose-tinted tribute.
– Joanne Harris
I have been in love with her ever since she described every human feeling in the world with confectionery metaphors in Chocolat.
Then, I started reading Gentlemen and Players, and suddenly, all of my sepia-tinted craze for classroom dramas (which had its foundation in my Enid Blyton days) seemed to be captured by Ms. Harris in the first few chapters.
I had been stalling Blackberry Wine for a while now. It was one of the first books I had gifted myself, and have recently resumed reading.
Although neither of these can surpass Chocolat, my love for her writing is destined to be undying.
– The Instagram pages of hilltop cafés
Anyway, the list can go on.
The fanaticism started with Cafe Ivy (@cafeivy) in Landour, their Instagram page vibrant with photographs of motorcycles, fairy lights and teacups posed against the blue, foggy Himalayas. (This is the café I want to marry.)
And, like the spring calls of the mountain koel, the addiction climbed note after note, from The Blue Magpie (@thebluemagpiemanali) in Manali (how painful to know that I was actually in Manali last June) to the age-old favourite Glenarys (@glenarys) – and days succumbed to joyful procrastination. If that doesn’t characterize love, what does?
– ‘Tere Ishq Mein’, and Nescafe Basement
… and a ripe memory of Kurseong from two years ago.
The memory sustains itself in sounds. It was the winter of 2014, and I was sitting on the swing so generously provided by the staff of Cochrane Place, tracing the headlights of cars which flew through the dark bosom of the nearby mountain and disappeared somewhere around the curve of its navel. There was silence all around, except for the icy breeze which knocked the wooden windchimes, on the door to the tea bar, against one another.
Soft strums on the guitar wafted in from somewhere in the amber-lit corridor of the hotel. I saw the boy who was to sing for the guests that night walk briskly into the restaurant and resume tuning his guitar. Swinging slowly in the cold, I heard him rehearse a song I couldn’t recognize. But the lyrics stayed with me.
Many, many days after that, I managed to Google the lyrics and found the song. Recently, almost two years since that, I found the Nescafe Basement version of said song, and I have been listening to it on loop.
The lyrics which I cannot shake from myself go,
Tere ishq mein jo bhi doob gaya,
Usse duniya ki lehron se darna kya?
– The thaw in the cold
Sunsets are rather colourless at this time. The cold winds come in bites and pinches, much like it came when monsoon was dying down and the festive season was getting wrapped up. Except now it is time for winter to go – and it has, in its essence, gone away – but, like an abandoned love, it cannot help but come back in lesser yet more memorable ways.
Sunset comes in no other form but a gradual dimming of light, and the kite-flying boy from my a neighbouring roof leap down from the water tank, stretch his small silhouetted hands, and recede into his house.
A lot of the aforementioned sources of beauty drove me to write. Write something.
And if you’re looking for alternative love too, I suggest you look deep within yourselves, uncover an old playlist, watch a black and white classic, or go on a trip.
Embrace the inconsequential. Nothing is too less or too little if it makes you happy.