The kaapi love

Soon after my wedding in 1994, I moved to Mysuru where I had to take over the kitchen activities. Like in any typical South Indian household, the mornings would kickstart with 'bisi bisi kaapi'. Since I was a chaiwali from Maharashtra, coffee was a novelty for me — making tea was much simpler and easier than making coffee.

The first week into my married life, the biggest challenge I faced was making the filter coffee. This particular early-morning task was the most difficult and out-of-syllabus situation for me. I would attempt to make the perfect coffee, but in vain. For a week, my husband had all the variations possible — strong, very strong, light, very light, sweet, very sweet and, on some days, very bitter too.

No proper formula occurred to me. Nevertheless, I would enter the kitchen each morning with a positive mind, expecting some 'eureka' moment. But alas! Nothing of that sort happened. Unfortunately, in those days, one did not have the assistance of the all-knowing Google in the kitchen. Today, anything and everything is just a click away!

My husband, a coffee expert, patiently witnessed my struggle each day to make that perfect blend. Finally, one fine day, he decided to take over the 'bisi bisi kaapi' business, which continues to date! It's been more than two decades now since the takeover happened.

Once, my husband came down with a rare kind of viral infection. Of the one in a lakh people who suffer from that infection, he was that unlucky one to get it. He was hospitalised for 15 days. The first few days were nightmarish; we were clueless about what was happening. My only solace was that a senior and renowned doctor, known to us for more than four decades, was handling his case.

During my husband's stay at the hospital, I would reach there by 7 am and spend the whole day with him. The first thing he would ask when he saw me was whether I had brought with me any 'coffee'. I would shake my head, implying a 'no'.

I had promised myself that until he got well and was back home, I would not have or make coffee for myself (or him). After an anxious wait of 15 days, he finally got well, was discharged from the hospital and brought back home. Oh, what a happy ending that was!

The next morning, having spent many sleepless nights during his hospitalisation, I overslept — only to wake up to the aroma of the original 'bisi bisi filter kaapi' coming from my bedside table. The kaapi love had been rekindled after a fortnight's break.

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