Apr 29, 2002

Coffee Break

Had coffee as usual in the '300 market'. The number, for those curious souls, is actually the building name. Buildings in my office just have numbers - 100, 200 etc., quite modest and doesn't live up to the actual buildings. (I remember at another place I used to work, even the conference rooms had names, not numbers. So you would meet in 'Led Zeppelin' or in 'The Beatles'). This coffee break is a nice ritual Paul and I follow to break the monotony of myriad emails, builds and bugs. Instead of lunch break, we take a coffee break. We walk along the lake, with a sometime chilly nipping air, past the ducks, away from the smokers, leaving way to the folks hurrying to some meetings, to our market. 3 o clock is the right time to go for coffee, 2 is a little early, there are still unsold large pizzas in the counter with their aroma filling the air. 4 is a little late, it gets colder and the walk to that cafeteria becomes literally an uphill task what with tunnel effect and all between the buildings. Yes Sir, 3 is the right time.

I'd get my coffee, lazily gaze at the counter and some days take Wilde's (Or was it Shaw? I forget) advice and yield to the temptation of a rich cake. Paul is more specific. He would ask for a 'lowfat no-foam double latte'. Then one day there was this new energetic looking stewardess, and Paul was at his best asking for his coffee, adding a smile and a 'por favor' and she very swiftly prepared for him a 'decaf double latte with foam'. The nice guy decided not to make a big fuss and accepted it. Next day there was another waitress. He goes again double latte, low fat - no foam as clearly as possible. So she makes something that looks like it and as she gets ready to hand it over, the other waitress comes running and snatches it and tells this waitress sternly, 'he gets decaf and you made regular', smiles at us, pours it and proceeds to make him another! It was one of those rare situations when we were speechless in the coffee shop.

My favorite corner was empty today. I invariably pick up the chair facing the fountain.. I am greatly disappointed those days when it is turned off. They play good music and in some rare situations some talented soul would be playing the piano in the building lobby and mellifluous music floats in.. Hot coffee, ambiance and conversation.. And the conversation is the best part it ranges from death penalty in India, roams in Vietnam forests, touches the free trade and economic balance, Tamil language... and we reluctantly trudge back to our cubes as the time slips away.

April 29, 2002