Coffee Bars III

Horror of horrors! A Cafe Coffee Day has opened in Patiala!

I can imagine regular readers raising an eyebrow. Some might even raise two. Surely, they feel, after his earlier paeans to coffee bars, one would expect Aadisht to be pleased that there is now one in Patiala. Furthermore, a Cafe Coffee Day, which has managed to maintain quality, instead of a Barista which hasn’t; or a Qwiky’s, which never had it to begin with. Why, then, this sudden grouse?

Well, yes, I like coffee and coffee bars. I particularly like Cafe Coffee Day, especially since you can sit on wide sofas instead of the tiny wooden stools that are there at Barista. But, I just happen to like Patiala more. That means that I like it the way it is.

I enjoy the fact that the crazy denizens of Patiala, given time, would have come up with their own coffee bar, with a style (or lack thereof) its very own. Coffee served with banana shakes, or coffee flavoured lassi, or something even more bizarre. The point is, it would have been Patialvi, and the Patialvis would have fitted in with it.

But Cafe Coffee Day, for all its charms- including the free books you can take and read with your coffee, will not meld with Patiala. Let me rephrase that. I doubt very much that it will meld with Patiala.

What will happen instead is that hordes of sardars and puppies will descend on it in their LML Vespas and Hero Honda CBZs and yellow Santros. They’ll go inside and compare their mobile ringtones. Small sardar and sardarni children will run about and raise Cain. Quel horreur!

I sound like an elitist bastard in the above paragraph. After all, I think that the yellow Santro driving, ringtone exchanging, and small sardars are part of Patiala’s charm when they stay in Gopals Family Restaraunt. But why this sudden squeamishness the moment they enter a nationwide chain that is itself a replica of an American business model?

OK, there might be elitism at the subconscious level, but I can’t do anything about that. More than that, though, it’s the context of coffee bars, that I’ve already discussed in Coffee Bars II. Over the past four years I’ve grown to appreciate Patiala for its reckless and unabashed Punjabi nature. But just the same, over the past five years I’ve grown to appreciate coffee bars for being excellent places to hang out with friends old and new, discuss matters of import, and, well, yes, look at girls in tank tops. No doubt in an another five years I would come to enjoy the Punjabification of Cafe Coffee Day, too.

As things stand, though, I have only five months left here. So I’m staying an elitist bastard for now.

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