Saturday, September 29, 2007

Coffee Blues

Wake up. Brush my teeth. Go to the kitchen. Keep a half-mug of milk in the microwave. Put one teaspoon Nescafe instant coffee and some sugar in it. Inhale it and start sipping it. This is how my daily routine begins.

I somehow cannot kickstart a day without coffee. Surprisingly, it was not like this. I used to drink milk or Horlicks or Complan earlier when I was young and not allowed to drink coffee. Or at the best, what was described as 'haalu kaafi' (very milky coffee).

Go to any restaurant in the US and as soon as you order coffee, they ask "Black?"! Which senseless fool can drink black coffee? Of course I feel like shouting "NO! Brown!" the way R. K. Narayan shouted at a waiter in a New York cafeteria. But people here wouldn't understand and I give it up as a lost cause.

Every single day while I am drinking coffee, I remember the taste of coffee back home. The coffee in the outside world is a far cry from what we make in South India. I must say that I don't know how coffee tastes outside Karnataka but it must be somewhat the same. Now what is it about us that makes us crave for the same kind of coffee that we are used to bak at home? I can distinctly tell the coffee from New Shanti Sagar and Kadambam and Pavithra and Vidyarthi Bhavan hotels in Bangalore. The difference in the bitterness, the strengths of the decoction, the colour and not to mention the kind of tumbler that comes with it makes each a savouring occasion.

These are the days when the 'youth' 'hang out' in Cafes sipping Mochas and Lattes and soaking in the ambience of the place. Yeah, Right! If you pay Rs. 100 or thereabouts for a cup of that drink they dare call coffee, you might as well enjoy the ambience since you are not getting your money's worth in the coffee! This is the coffee culture from the West that is now seen in every corner in Bangalore.

Perfect coffee is prepared in a coffee filter which contains space for the coffee powder between the two cups. As hot water percolates through the powder from the top, the strong decoction is formed in the bottom cup. The dripping rate defines the strength of the decoction. Add a little hot and sweetened milk to some decoction from a height and you have a frothing cup of 'filter coffee'. Three years ago, if coffee was not like the this, I would probably have said, "Can I have tea instead?" like Manohar Malgonkar. But it looks like these things are here to stay. It's a strange world we live in. We don't get what we want and we cannot like what we get!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Intelligent Design

Now, why didn't anyone think of this?

Most elegant solutions are really simple! And this one is no exception. When you only have two USB ports on your laptop, you surely would love to free them up with multipurpose devices. This new wireless mouse from Microsoft is no earth shattering achievement but something so useful that it shows the necessity of practical user interface design.