Random musings…
The ones that got written down.

bare necessities… that’s why a bear can rest at ease

it’s the international coffee day and what better time to talk about my lock down java jugaad

Coffee has been an integral part of my day for over 12 years now, I probably discovered the taste for it when while rummaging through the local Kerala store for coconut milk powder… I discovered filter coffee powder and followed it up with an inquiry on how to prepare it that led to the purchase of a drip filter which I still have somewhere… Eventually I experimented with a multitude of concoctions… with chicory, without chicory, grind sizes, water temperature, with milk without milk, sugar no sugar, more kickass coffee machines than the humble drip filter… the conclusion was that it all comes down to the coffee powder and the absence of chicory (don’t get me wrong some people swear by chicory, I just get a bad headache from it)… At some point I landed up on this coffee plantation in Coorg that is working to produce responsibly produced coffee in the highlands of Coorg. The product is exquisite and to my experienced palate I ranked it much higher than almost all the bags of coffee I had bought at Starbucks. That’s saying a lot because Starbucks coffee is a religion for some folks.

Ainmane has an online store and they are also stocked by a specialty foods store near home. So depending upon the level of procrastination I either order online (if there is enough time to wait for the maal, not that maal, to arrive from Coorg via speedpost) or make a mad dash to the store nearby if I’ve delayed the order long enough to actually reach the bottom of the barrel…

So 19th of March 2020 saaheb (he who shall not be named) came on TV at 8PM and announced janta lockdown to rid the country of the Corona virus. The approximately 600Cr+ people who had voted for him started rejoicing and calling it a master strokche which will rid the country of Covid-19 because as every gully cricketer and his gully scientist knows Corona cannot exist for more than 14 hours without human interaction. I on the other hand have always been a maverick… I guess the nurse had dropped me on my head when I was born… which is why the first thing I did was place an order at ainmane.com for 3 months worth of coffee. The order failed and I figured many more addicts like me were trying it out so I tried another order and payment for that too failed… I figured those guys were a step ahead of me and had stopped taking orders because they knew they wont be able to service those orders during a prolonged lock down.

The next order of business was to rush to the ATM and withdraw cash to last us 3 months at least (6 months on and still haven’t had to step into an ATM so much for estimates). No point watching the banks being shut down and citizens being reduced to doing dharnas outside Chanda’s jail cell (oh hang on she’s not in yet, her husband is) ok then outside Chanda aunty’s bungalow in Bandra… the ATM rush was followed by a trip to the specialty foods place to stock up on exotic stuff and the Java. The plan I had formulated was that we would store all the treats from Cheddas in the car and over the next 3-4 months, that I had figured this lock down would really last, we would do a sustained release for the kids. Also got two large cartons of tetra pack milk and other grocery stock for at least 2 months to be stored in the new larders which would mostly stay parked in the stilt parking for the duration.

Of course the ecosystem went to town calling the conspiracy theorists CovIdiots after all they knew better from experience (Noteban, GST to name the two previous master strokes which have been so spectacularly successfully that people are still scratching their heads wondering what the objectives were)… and that there would be no need after the one day Janta curfew… Alas the images of poor laborers walking bare feat all the way from Mumbai to Samastipur a month later has done little to convince these bhaktjan that Diyar leeder had completely replaced their bhejas with gobar… they still believe it was more nationalistic to venture out for groceries and get caned on the posterior during lock down than to disobey His Royal Highness and stock up for the anarchy that was to follow… As for my stock of milk and staples well over the next few weeks most of it went to the security guards who had so generously agreed to stay back and carry out their duty… and then lock down eased and we could all go out and get more of the same…

Anyway so this story is not about the cockamamie that is the Government today… this is about those two failed coffee orders… Around two and a half months later I suddenly get a call from the local post-office saying that a packet has been received and because of the lock down the postman cannot come to deliver in person but I could pick it up in person if I came to the post-office. By now I had forgotten about the coffee and was curious as to what this packet was. Had Diyar leeder finally sent me my promised 15Lakh in cash??!! So I went to the post office and after the initial handshake (awkward because of social distancing you see) I was handed over the pretty sizeable package… 2kilos of coffee does take up space. So Ainmane had actually shipped the coffee on the 20th of March itself and it was only on the 2nd of June that I received it because of course janta curfew got extended by …6 months 10 days and counting as of today… so much for Corona will go away within 14 hours master stroke

It was just in time as well because we had run out of the good stuff, Chheda the Specialty foods place was not open yet and all that was available at the local grocery mart was Bru filter coffee which anyway is best used as body scrub or deodorizer in cars, refrigerators, wash rooms even shoe racks… So yeah a just in time miracle from Ainmane. Back home I opened the pack and then wrote a mail to the Ainmane guys thanking them for the coffee and asking for bank details so I could make the payment (remember the payment had failed twice on the 19th of March). They didn’t respond… so far.

A month later the second failed order was also delivered, this time the postman came home… lock down was still on but postman is above everyone else… somehow. Again I reminded the folks at ainmane and again no response… then last month upon running out of coffee (almost) I placed the order again this time hoping the payment would go through which it did…

So those were the trials and travels of exotic coffee from the highlands of Coorg through the lock down… sometimes in the deepest of crises in the most unexpected of ways the universe sends a message…. it tells you Everything is alright and if it’s not then it’s probably not everything that there is… look here’s some good coffee, on the house, now run on along and don’t complain about the rain…

Once all this is well and truly over I hope to make a road trip to Coorg, visit the plantation, meet the boys who run the place and pay them for the, so far, free coffee that they so benevolently delivered during lock down when there really was no way I was going to score anything better than deodorizer coffee if left to the devices of the local stores… They deserve a leg up so if you like coffee (and have reached so far in the write up) go ahead and pay a visit to https://ainmane.com/product/cafe-blend (I like that one best though the Monsooned Malabar is also pretty damn good actually try them all)…. Good coffee from people with their heart in the process and not so much worried about the money money…

As Gusteau says “Remy, food will come. Food always comes to those who love to cook.”

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