By the way: That poster on a café wall | punjab$regional-takes | Hindustan Times
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By the way: That poster on a café wall

Someone, anyone, please, make me meet these people who come up with motivational quotes that adorn the walls of cafes and pubs these days. They deserve a thorough thrashing, I tell you. Especially the one who said, ‘Follow your dreams.’

punjab Updated: Oct 25, 2015 12:04 IST
Aarish Chhabra
The real meaning of his very intelligent dictum is known only to those who actually end up following dreams. One such dream is to open a café.
The real meaning of his very intelligent dictum is known only to those who actually end up following dreams. One such dream is to open a café.

Someone, anyone, please, make me meet these people who come up with motivational quotes that adorn the walls of cafes and pubs these days. They deserve a thorough thrashing, I tell you. Especially the one who said, ‘Follow your dreams.’

I am sure this guy did not have any dreams, or, if he did, he never actually followed them. Or, if at all he did have a definable dream and followed it, it was to walk his dog for half an hour extra, or get a blueberry muffin or something from the shop around the corner.

The real meaning of his very intelligent dictum is known only to those who actually end up following dreams. One such dream is to open a café. Every damn person who watches sitcoms, or thinks of himself as having a creative streak, or has too many friends, or generally likes food and the idea of being around it all the time, has this dream. Journalists who type out yawn-inducing articles and have a high estimation of themselves are particularly susceptible to such dreams. But they hardly follow them. That’s smart.

Because, when this motivational quote-mongering genius wrote down this line — ‘Follow your dreams’, I repeat — he had no clue how much money, effort and headache-inducing arguments it takes to build an actual café, or something like that.

I am sure he had no idea how the prices of cement and bread and even nachos fluctuate every evening, and that masons are not just construction workers, but kings of their own time-zone. Did he know that plumbers — otherwise famous as protagonists of porn movies — are actually harder to deal with than doing the actual plumbing with your own two hands? Or so it seems.

How difficult did he think it would be to put together a menu of the stuff you’d sell? Food and drinks, a layman would think, won’t really be much trouble as long as it’s good. No, sir! It’s some kind of science that’s shared in a code language between chefs. The fifteen thousand nine hundred eighty seven ways of cooking an egg can be a heart-stopping challenge for someone who only had a dream of serving good-quality omelettes in his dream café. Fascination is not someone that can help you breathe in such a situation.

The real test, however, begins only when the guests start walking in. Of course, you’d say, that’s what one opens a café for.

No, actually when you are only following a dream and not paying attention to the nightmares that come with it, you end up building a beautiful drawing room where you just want people to talk about high-brow stuff over a steaming cup of coffee. The whole machine that goes behind it — from the procurement system to the cooking to the billing to the accounting to the serving techniques — is not something that’s explained on posters on a café wall in old Manali or in your favourite drinking place at the local mall. Dreams come in misleading packaging.

The moot question behind this rant is: How do you again fall in love with a dream that’s already realised? After all, the romance is in the pursuing. How do you eventually settle down and live the dream without feeling jittery all the time?

The answers to these questions remain hidden somewhere beyond those motivational quotes and posters. Life itself can give you the answers, maybe. Dreams, after all, have to reconcile with real life at some point. Oh, what a line, that last one! Somebody, anybody, please write that down and put it up on a café wall somewhere.

aarish.chhabra@hindustantimes.com