A cup of coffee and Ghalib

Ever since I knew of the existence of this social construct called ‘dating’, I had my plans ready. Not that I ever knew much about candle-light dinners and romantic strolls in parks, but I had my own idea about the ‘ideal’ date – An afternoon in a cozy little bookstore, with energetic (I refrain from using ‘intellectual’…God knows what that really is!) conversations punctuating the space, and a cup of overpriced cappuccino to end the date. Perfect. As days passed by, and I did not go on any such date, my ideas grew more detailed…more intricate…more utopian! I had visions of me reading out lines from Rumi, Ghalib and Kahlil Gibran experiencing a profound sense of ‘belonging’, while ‘he’ would apprise me of the awesomeness of the political history of India, the debates between the Left, Right and Center, etc. Who knows, maybe even tell me more about Nietzsche, Sartre, Kafka and all those incredible people? So, so, so perfect! I could barely even wait.

Finally, on one random unimportant day, one of my dad’s colleague’s sons called and asked me if I wanted to ‘hang out’. I jumped at the proposition, and decided on pursuing my life-long ambition – A cup of coffee and Ghalib! The ‘date’ was a disaster from the very start. Turns out, he hated anything to do with ‘politics and philosophy’, did not ‘get’ poetry and had never heard of Ghalib, Rumi or Gibran! In fact, that whole afternoon, he ranted on and on about football and how ‘supremely superior’ it was, while I nodded my head vigorously having no idea what I was making such enthusiastic commitments to. To make matters worse, he did not want to go to this cute little café nearby, and instead we ended up munching fries at McDonalds. Perfect.

I was getting over my conception of a ‘perfect date’ when life gave me another chance –this time I went with a friend of mine from college, someone who debated profusely, almost obdurately, over matters both known and unknown to him. Okay, I thought. Let’s give this a chance. So, we went. To Crossword. I was reading out some Gibran to him and he seemed to really like it. Wow, finally, we are getting somewhere! Whee! Not. Throughout the afternoon, he kept referring to Gibran as Ghalib and said some rather amusing things about how ‘free verse’ is a tad overrated and rhythm and rhyme make poetry worth its cause. I thought I would die of hyperventilation when I learnt that he had no idea who Cho Ramaswamy was, and when he was racking his brains trying to place the ‘vaguely heard names’ of Ramachandra Guha and Romila Thapar. In fact, he didn’t even know that Madhuri Dixit was M F Hussain’s muse. That is it – the last straw, I thought. Sigh. So much for my perfect date. Finally, we ended up having coffee (he loves cappuccino, some saving grace!) and I ended up boring him to death about whatever little I do happen to know of the world around us.

As much fun as I had that day, my ‘ideal date’ was yet to surface! As time passed by, I had completely forgotten about it. But fate just does not let go, does it? Just last week, I was waiting for my cousin at a mall. She called saying that she was going to be slightly late and asked me ‘hang around’. Initially irritated, I was about to leave when I remembered that there was a very cozy bookstore close by. Oxford Bookstore and its affiliate café – Cha Bar. A familiar feeling arose within me, and I seized the opportunity. I spent a good hour browsing through lovely books, reading familiar, and unfamiliar, poetry and even braving the hostility of the ‘Sports’ section! After that, I grabbed a cup of fresh, strong coffee at Cha Bar while reading Ghalib. By the end of my ‘date’, I felt like a warm brownie inside. After spending an entertaining hour with my cousin doing what we are the best at – shopping – I got back home with memories only of the lovely hour of solitude I had indulged in that day. I had never felt so content before! It was just me, a ton of books, some freshly brewed over-priced coffee and Ghalib!

Excited, I decided to end the day on a perfect note. I logged on to an online bookstore , picked out the books that I had really wanted to buy earlier that day, used my dad’s credit card details and bought them all! Now, that is what I call a perfect date!

Sneha A

Almost twenty. IIT-M. Not engineering. Humanities. Yes, it exists. Poetry/Ghazals. Books. Non-fiction > Fiction. Food. Cellphone. Bright colours. Bags. Kohl. Earrings. Bangles. Mood swings. Chick flicks. Kishore Kumar. COLA. Gossip.