It was November 1998. I had just moved to Bengaluru as a newly married woman. I had taken a sabbatical from my job and had left my life in Delhi far behind to start a whole new life in tree-lined Uru. I didn’t know many people in the city and most of my new acquaintances came via my husband.
It was then that I found my life partner over conversations about coffee and marriage. It was all so sudden yet so magical, that I still think about those days and feel a sense of fondness. Is it normal to experience butterflies in your stomach after all these years?
Flirting, Romance, Coffee And Marriage
Table of Contents
I fell in love with my husband and by the late 90s, we were married. I knew it was meant to be right from the start. Our story is a beautiful mix of sentiment and practicality. Love at first sight that gradually mellowed into something that was often sweet, sometimes bitter, and long-lasting. Much like that that first sip of coffee.
I don’t know when or how, but we moved effortlessly into domestic life with each other – I’d cook for him, he’d serve me coffee with love, after we moved in together, we would have silly arguments and then make up (and make out!) for hours.
Bengaluru was different from Delhi
Bengaluru felt very different from Delhi. Infosys, Wipro, Microland continuously popped up in conversations around me. It would not be an exaggeration to say I was a tech novice and my husband was just the opposite.
He ran his consultancy firm (Yes, I am the first one in my entire khandaan to get married to an entrepreneur. I’m sure my chachis and buas must have felt very sorry for this bewakoof niece of theirs who chose somebody not in a government job).
After we settled down in our almost Zen-like home (well, it was a home without any furniture), I dutifully followed my husband wherever he went. He had a laptop but there was no telephone at home.
I don’t remember anybody in our immediate circle having an internet connection at home back then. For all his official work like sending emails and newsletters, my husband had to go a cyber café. It was a bonus for us since we both loved cute little cafes and talks about coffee and marriage and love.
My introduction to CCD
That’s how, I was first introduced to the Café Coffee Day on the busy Brigade Road which was a coffee shop-cum-cyber café. As I walked into the CCD, I thought it to be far more cool and chic than anything I used to frequent in New Delhi.
There was something about the energy of that place and I took an instant liking. They served the best cakes and poured my coffee with love, that just transformed my bad mood into a good one.
Even though we were already married, there was a charm about the place which made it seem like we were young lovers. Coffee and dating go hand in hand, but for us, it was coffee and marriage. The whole experience at that CCD just added a spark to our relationship.
Frothy cups of cappuccino felt quite intimate and delicious, like the new life I was experiencing. Almost every day, I used to go to CCD with him, talk, sip coffee, and get to know him better. Nothing like great coffee and conversation to heighten the intimacy in a relationship!
At CCD I got my first email ID
Sitting there together, one day my husband opened a Hotmail account in my name (of course adding his surname to my name). “It’s a sexy ID,” was his logic) even though I never had any desire to take on his surname.
Like a dutiful wife, I handed over the email ids of a few friends so that he could write a basic note informing them of my virtual presence. So, it was at CCD, Brigade Road, that facilitated my virtual journey, albeit with lots of help from my husband.
Some coffee and a prank
What’s a marriage without some fun, right? Well, the interesting thing is that as my husband had access to my password, one fine evening when he went to CCD alone, and wrote emails to my friends (including my former lover) telling them about how beautiful and joyful my married life is and how incredibly nice and loving my husband is.
For my friends and the love interest, this particular email came as a surprise (those who know me well know that I am not someone to gush over a companion/lover, forget about a husband or for that matter marriage).
These innocent souls, while enjoying their share of Wills Flake and rum punch in a steel glass, did wonder about this strange ‘gush gush’ email of mine. But then, in their ‘Wills-rum state of mine’, they blamed it on those ‘happy hormones of early marriage days.’
Of course, I was quick to notice this prank played by my husband and soon changed my password. In a few months, I started working and eventually my visits to CCD became infrequent. But CCD always brought a smile to my face.
CCD will always be a part of our marriage story
Every marriage has its own tangible and intangible narratives. The tangible ones come with their share of stories, memories of happiness, struggle and togetherness.
My parents’ tangible narratives revolved around the Philips radio they bought in July, 1969 to listen to the news of Neil Armstrong setting foot on moon, or the Konark TV they bought in early 1985 just months after Rajiv Gandhi became the country’s youngest prime minister or the crisp masala dosas they shared in a non-descript restaurant in then Madras.
For them, Philips, Alwyn or Konark were not just brands, they were much more than that. These brands symbolized their shared lives as a young couple charting their journey with their own resources.
As news of VG Siddhartha’s death comes in, I look back at Café Coffee Day with a renewed sense of coffee and love, and the magic it added to my relationship. That particular outlet in Brigade Road which we frequented as a young couple is no longer there (It shut shop in April this year). After 20 years of my marriage, those early days of spending hours in CCD, Brigade Road still feel fresh and joyful.
I have never met Mr VG Siddhartha and yet, in strange ways, his death brings a sense of loss and hurt. Like life, tangible memories also become sepia-toned. But then there’s magic in those too.
Coffee has never tasted better. To top it all, Siddhartha gave us a taste of what it means to have coffee from those home-grown brown beans. That will be his priceless legacy. For my story personally, the staff that served coffee with love at CCD, made my marriage with my husband all the more special.
Thank you, Siddhartha… for all those happy memories we created in our early days of coffee and marriage sitting cozily at your Café Coffee Day. A lot of love actually happened over coffee. And the love continues to grow.