String of Pearls


New Years Day morning!

She stands at one of the many nondescript coffee shops on the road leading to the ashram guesthouse in Pondicherry.

This is the first time she sees the sunrise over the ocean. She looks at the sea or is it the sky, she wonders. With the colours melting so perfectly it is hard to define the horizon line. It starts very subtle, as if afraid to rise. Then bit by bit, it covers the pale morning haze with a pure white light.  The radiant sun in the porcelain sky sings a soft lullaby, gently rocking away disappointments of yesterday.

At Vijaya coffee shop, Thambi, the tea shop owner,  transfers a dose of “filter kaapi” from a tumbler held a meter high into the dabara, the steel container that contains the surplus coffee so as to blend the sugar duly into the kaapi, ready for consumption;  all this done in a matter of seconds, as speedily as he ties and reties his ‘mundu’.

Somewhere in the distance, a parakeet sings the morning song. She strains her ears to decipher but the strong aroma of steaming coffee takes over her senses. She holds the mug over her nose and breathes in the fumes, her head lighter as her airways clear.

She turns her attention to the cup. It is tall, frothy and still piping hot, just the way she likes it.  She wraps her fingers around the cup, enjoying the heat that pervades her hand. She takes the first sip; the coffee lingers on her taste buds and cruises down her throat.

A few minutes and she is bathing in the kick of caffeine. ‘Filter kaapi, she thinks. wins hands down any day over the lukewarm western, overpriced versions of coffee that taste as insipid as a day old cold oatmeal.

She cant help but smile, as her eyes rest on the vast blue waters spread out right in front of her, the heavenly “filter kaapi” in her hand and sighs…wondering idly  if this is what is known as happy?

Perhaps if she had to save these little blissful moments like a string of pearls and look at them closely, she would realise that there was another life going on inside of her and in fact that was the real life ..perhaps more important than the day to day mundane, chunky life filled with worldly problems.

A septuagenarian standing a few metres away smiles tentatively, raising his cup at her in what seems like a morning greeting, almost as if he has read her mind and approves. The map of wrinkles on his face talks of the most incredible journey. They speak of a man who had travelled through eight decades to that moment.

New-year, new thoughts, new beginnings..







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