It was a chilly Sunday. And the best way to spend it was sitting in the winter sun.
We decided to visit the Indian Coffee House at Connaught Place*. We climbed up to the second floor of Mohan Singh Place. There were only a few people on the terrace. Empty tables were spread randomly, while plastic chairs were piled up, one on top of another, along the entrance. We grabbed our chairs, pulled up one of the plastic tables, and sat down to bask in the sun.
Apart from the outfits of the waiters, there really isn’t anything that looks fancy at the Indian Coffee House. Even the food isn’t really great. But the coffee is good, and its cheap! The main reason why I keep going there, however, is that it is absolutely laid-back. There is no such thing as spending too much time here. When most cafés will eventually ask you to leave, no one here will even hint at that. You are more likely to see people stepping in, than stepping out – even if you spend hours. Like my friend said, ‘It’s like being at home!’
We read the menu pasted on the wall, and ordered ourselves ‘Hot Cream Coffee’. A little while later, the waiter kept a pot of coffee for each of us, with cups, spoons, and a small bowl of sugar.
As we poured out our coffee, and stirred in the sugar, I found myself looking towards the opposite side of the road. A number of state emporia lined the street.
‘You know, there is a huge flower market here. It opens early morning, and winds up before breakfast.’ I looked towards the pavement. A large number of people were walking there, shouting slogans and carrying banners. It was hard to tell what they were campaigning for, though.
‘We used to come here on Sunday mornings, when we were in school.’
‘I know, you told me.’
‘We would get up lazily, and go about our morning routine reluctantly. And then, our father would ask, ‘Do you want to go to the flower market?’ And just like, that our faces would brighten up, and we’d get ready within no time!
It was such a treat! And I don’t mean just visually. We’d pick up a few flowers – usually roses, or orchids. The orchids would last much longer than most other flowers. And then we’d head over to the nearby McDonald’s. We hardly went to McDonald’s back then. It was a novelty. That particular branch used to open very early. And we’d always order a McShake with our breakfasts. Nah! The McShake was the breakfast. Of course things have changed a lot since then…’
My friend waited patiently, till I realised I had to shut up, and then suggested, ‘Maybe you should blog about it.’
* * *
*Connaught Place is now officially named Rajiv Chowk.
Going through WordPress’ freshly pressed entries, my eyes fell on a familiar image – flower sellers. The post ‘Where guys give roses’, about the flower markets in Delhi, refreshed some memories for me.