White Marble Top Coffee Table
Ek Kali Ek Ghori, Bandra Chai
* Ek Kali, Ek Gori, translates to One Black, One White
I sit myself in a green outdoor patio of a Bandra coffee shop and stare up at the chalkboard menu. All I could read was a rubric of exotic coffees and their carmalized mochaed latted frapped iced versions. A few minutes later, a black coffee arrives. As the liquit eats through my mouth acrimoniously, I long for the smell of over pasteurized milk, a slice of ginger, a savory of cardamom dust, the crackle of a rusty stick of cinnamon all concocted and alchemized into something else.
Yes, I'm talking about Chai.
Chai to be slurped greedily in chipped glasses. And so I went looking for the perfect cup in Bandra.
The ceiling fan rattles, clicks and sways as it cools the chai in the chipped porcelain cups that lie below. A boy, a torn banyan walks up to our table and slides two glasses of water across the marble top. Smoke from an entire barrage of cigarettes spirals up to the ceiling as people drink their chai an accompanying glass of cold water, reading newspapers while eating kheema (mince) samosas and buttering their bun muskas. The Cafe permeates much Bombay talk, a bright hum insulated by its vaulted ceilings from the noise of the street outside.
These are the musty, yet strangely comfortable confines of one of the many Irani establishments in Bombay.
The boy slides across briskly to my table and looks at me with accusatory smile.
"Ek Kali chai doosri doodh walli", I tell him thinking about chai.
[t: One Black the second one with milk.]
"Ek Kali, Ek Gori", he repeats as his yellow smile widens.
[t: One Black, One White]
I laugh to myself as he walks away to the kitchen.
The chai arrives shortly only to prove to me yet again that the best cup of chai is served by a yellow smile with missing teeth belonging to a heat drenched body appearing from nowhere only to serve only more amounts of chai.
Slow time at Olympia coffee house
The afternoon rush is over, and the cafe readies itself for the evening. The floor will be swept, the tables cleaned.
On Colaba Causeway in Mumbai, Olympia is one of the old places which still thrives. According to a sign inside, they stopped serving beef in 1918. You can see the present day menu reflected in the ancient mirrors. I love the old furniture: the marble top tables and the chairs. Their kababs are great and the caramel custard is very popular (the group reflected in the mirror walked in for just the custard).
Technically, I wanted to get the different intensities of light to see whether they could bring out the flaws in the old mirror. I was helped by the double reflection: off the ceiling and mirror. The white glare outside the window is the reflection of the sun off a white Ambassador parked on the road. It was a real hot day, as you can see.
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