India is probably at the peek of its café culture. It started with the basic vision of the café being the ‘it’ place for sharing of dialogue over cups of coffee. I am not here to deal with the problems I might have with blind consumerism that is dawning all over our lives or the fact that paying what we do for a third grade coffee is ridiculous, to say the least.
Well, we all know sex sells. But we also know that us Indians refuse to acknowledge the rampant sex we might be having and hence producing the startling population. Since modesty is our forte and we have gone years substituting sex with saree clad heroines in rains, it is but obvious that the coffee shops, in their quest to attract flourishing business, couldn’t have marketed lust.
Hence, they went for the easiest and safest substitute: Love.
That’s what I have a problem with.
Like, love isn’t a screwed up enough concept on its own, anyway?
It’s true. They romanticized the ‘sharing of dialogue’. They made individuals believe that if you asked someone out to coffee and they agree to it, then you automatically embarked upon your magical journey of love, of course with lusty undertones. They told you ‘A Lot Can Happen Over Coffee’; they told you the café was the best ‘dating’ spot; they told you a lie. What’s the lie, you ask? Well, the simple fact that there exist no ‘coffee dates’. When you’re out for coffee, you’re technically not on a ‘date’; even though you would like to believe otherwise with all your heart and more. A meeting over coffee, simply put, is like a prelude. It’s an interview for an actual date.
Think about it. It’s got the most uncomfortable chairs, couches that do not make cozying up cozy, bright lights that don’t allow enough physical contact and no form of intoxication to look over your company’s flaws. It’s an environment that not only allows but sneakily endorses the highest degrees of scrutiny known to mankind. You’d notice his way of addressing the waiters, whether or not he sips his coffee charmingly enough etc. Even for the men, it sure as hell would become increasingly difficult when the incessant ogling of bare legs and/or cleavage won’t get them brownie points and hence they’d have to really get to know the person minus her physicality and like her for just that; which isn’t the most natural thing, if you ask me.
So since having coffee with someone you might have a love inkling towards, in fact, would be an interview, there’d be a natural, however unsaid array of questions that seek answers or at least validation. You know the general drill? How long have you done what you've done? Who are your references? What did your previous ‘job’ involve? Why did you leave? Why do you want to continue doing this? And lastly - Why us?
Then of course, because it would be an interview, you’d have to have all answers. Also, your answers have to sound and feel confident but at the same time, not too rehearsed. It might sound easy on paper but that’s only because you are not considering the due weight-age that has to be given to our contemporary society and its isms. An average intelligent guy does not want to be called an outright chauvinist but he can’t overdo it by pulling out a chair for the lady because she’s an average intelligent woman herself, who needs no help from any guy. Feminism, you see? If only we were Adam and Eve and our actions weren’t painted with all these rubbish post modern ideologies, the ‘interview’ would have been so darn easy. And you though being at the receiving end of a coffee invitation were half battle won. Sigh.
So the next time you’re in one of these fancy cafes and are paying Rs. 345654 for crap food, ask yourself why you have a cup instead of a pint in your hand and know that love, if at all, is in the near (or distant) future because even though you might want to believe that a lot can happen over coffee, in reality, only interviews do.