Just a glass of plain water, please

Bikram Vohra/Dubai
Filed on October 22, 2020

There was a time not so long ago when coffee meant chucking a spoon of the stuff in a cup and adding hot milk or water and some sugar to taste. That was coffee. You drank it on the fly and, if you were on time for office, you took another quick slug. Now, you practically carry your laptop with you to help you decide. Go to a restaurant and less decisions were made in WWII. There is a whole slew of options.


There are 23 kinds of coffee and not just "lathe" and "cappuchino" and Espresso which everyone pronounces with an ‘x’, but stuff with exotic names like Doppio, Cortado, Galao and Machhiatto. Sounds more like Snow White’s seven dwarfs than coffee. I mean, who gets up in the morning and says I am in the mood for a Ristretto, darling, go slow on the milk. And darling says, we have run out of Ristretto, would you have an Afagato. Of course, my love, mmmm, yummy… nothing like an Afagato to get the day moving, what are you having?


And the love of his life says, I am having a con panna.


And that is only after you have chosen the right bean, choosing the right bean being intrinsic to the coffee experience. Either you are with Arabica or with Robusta.


I gave up smoking years ago (thankfully) and one of the reasons was the pressure of decision-making. Tens or twenties. Filter or non filter, menthol or normal, ultra low tar or low tar, slims or standard, charcoal or without, clove or herbal… Thanks, I just gave up because I give up. Far too much pressure.


Then there is water. Remember the days we took it from the tap or a hand pump and, if we were trekking or out in commune with Nature, slurped it from a clear stream. Then we got a purifier stuck in the kitchen which was a smart thing to do because it was to be safe from that point 1 per cent of germs who seem to get away while 99.9 per cent perish. And now getting a glass of water is a whole new ball game.


Went for dinner and asked for water. Mineral or plain. Chilled or room temp. Sparkling or still. Alpine or Rocky. Spring or glacier. What, you brought a glacier here, what did you do, tow it? The litany did not stop there. Flavoured or infused, alkaline added, litre or half litre, even the option of distilled like I was a car battery.


Recall the simple times when colour were colours. Like red, very red, dark red and light red which was pink. Now there is magenta, angry face, very angry scowl, flame, flaming, coral, cochineal, rose, rosy, brick red, maroon, rusty, foxy, rufous, literary damask, vermeil, sanguine, gules. Ergo his behaviour made me see gules, whatever gules is. There is more. Vermilion, claret, carmine, scarlet, ruby, blood-cerise, cardinal, oh please, I am turning blue.


When we were kids, we went for ice cream and the big treat was a three-in-one: vanilla which was white, strawberry which was pink, and chocolate which was brown. The three bars would be stuck together in one rectangle and that was it. With a wafer on top. Now they market 333 flavours and the easiest way to make a choice is to stick to vanilla. Else go to Philadelphia and have pizza ice cream. There is also lobster ice cream and frozen turkey lollies and ketchup bars. Go on then, have a lick.


bikram@khaleejtimes.com





 
 
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