Saturday, January 07, 2006

Good cop - Bad Cop ?

Some time around August 1998 , I brought my "Scooty" from Trichy to Chennai. That was the time, I was shifting from Hosteler to Day Sci at IIT M - and cycling from home to class, left me totally drenched with sweat. So, in one of those early days of chennai two wheeler riding, when I didn't know, that a traffic cop was more dangerous at the end of the month, than the beginning, when I didn't call a cop maama, when I still spoke fairly pure "iyer thamizh" (why is it iyer tamizh and not iyengar thamizh") , when I had a barely there almost-moustache, I was stopped by a typical fat sloppy greedy Chennai cop.

Cop.. License iruka
Me.. Iruku
Cop..Stretches hand
Me.. Shrugs and shows copy of license
Cop.. RC iruka
Me.. Shows dirty worn out xerox copy of RC Book
Cop .. Insurance iruka
Me.. Smirks, and shows insurance

Cop.. takes a minute, says, "Idu Trichy vehicle- No objection certificate iruka?"
Me.. (now in combative mode, and aware that cop is bull-shitting) adelaam thevai illa nu theriyum .. venum na case potuko..
Dec 31 2005, I'm in San Francisco for New year's eve. A fireworks show is scheduled for midnight. My friend doesn't drink, I'm not particularly enthu either - but just for the heck I drop into a Chinese liquor store and pick up a can of "Old English Malt", and think I'll have just one drink for the day.

We head back on the road towards "The Embarcadero" for the fireworks show - when I decide to have the beer- I open my can, and walk back on Broadway - a popular, crowded street drinking from the can. We cross a cop, who's sitting on his bike talking to his friend. He sees us, and does a double take. I wonder why. We cross him -
Cop to his friend "Boy these guys must be incredibly bold, or incredibly crazy"
Me - turns and give him a quizzical look
Cop - (Realizes my ignorance ) "Dude- you're not allowed to drink beer out of a can in California. At least not unless you've one for the cop as well.
Me - Grins sheepishly and offers the beer to cop
Cop- Smiles, says no thanks- transfer it to a cup, like your friend
My friend- interrupts, hey no, this is just tea. Offers to finish his tea, and give the cup to me.
Me- Thanks the cop, take cup from my friend, transfer as much beer as possible into the cup, trash the remaining with the can and push off...

Coffee ke liye kuch bhi karega

Since Nov 14th, I had my first "tumbler" of "filter kaapi" today. At about 100 bucks a cup, it was worth every damn paisa..! Or cent. Since coming to Sunnyvale, authentic tamil coffee is the one thing I couldn't find until today - when I went to Saravana Bhavan Sunnyvale.
My previous experiment with filter coffee here was in a hotel called Madras Sri Krishna Bhavan in Sunnyvale was quite disastrous - the ka-pee was atrocious. No colour, no taste, no smell. And it was NOT served in a tumbler. It was simply atrocious -a total let down. I took one sip, and trashed the rest.

This time, though, I went with high hopes- The setting was familiar. The familiar Saravanas logo, the familiar menu, differently dressed waiters who spoke familiar Tamil ( after starting with English, and hearing you speak Tamil), and very unfamiliar prices.

And to think, I started drinking coffee only in my 11th standard, largely due to the protective influence of my coffee-addict mom who didn't want her son to emulate her, but then gave up, to facilitate the greater goal of her son's academic excellence (by keeping him awake ;) )

Next time round, I swear I shall go onsite, armed with a packet of Padma coffee from Srirangam, if possible with a coffee filter as well - else I shall make do with a coffee maker ;)