It’s about those days when there weren’t any established foreign cafes or restaurants in the country. Last Friday, catching up with an old college pal at a foreign-brand coffee shop, figured out I was sitting in a place that was flashy but not a true, soulful hangout for free socialising. Observing the young crowd at the tables, I found no excitement in their chitchat. Maybe, they all were just attracted in by the swanky interiors and decorations from abroad.
All the adolescents were trying their best to converse in English, whether they were comfortable or not. Some busy on their laptops and some with eyes glued and ears plugged to fancy mobile phones were all disconnected with the friends sitting in front.
My eyes were searching for any gang having real fun without being cautious, seeing whom I could remember my old days. But the place had no vibe. The only thing to notice was the irony that after a lacklustre outing, they had to foot a heavy bill. What is the use of spending so much when you can’t get the maximum out of yourself ? In that age in the company of friends, the level of foolishness is, perhaps, extreme.
In my young days in the late 1980s, the slick college haunts were unheard of. We had no expensive restaurant but we had more fun. After a boring lecture of mathematics, one of the friends would call us out for hot samosas (fried or baked pastry) at “Shekhar’s corner”. It was a basic kiosk at the street corner, where friends would gather over snacks and start the endless tattle.
There were no formal seats or expensive furniture, no distracting gadgets either, but the delight and excitement were fathomless. There was no conversation without patting each other on the backs with joy and laughter. Humour and bullying were on the menu, too, served hot. Sometimes, the professors would also join us, mixing our gossip with a proportionate amount of their own masala.
You can’t compare the taste and hygiene of those samosas with today’s healthy viands but the contentment we used buy in those 2 or 3 rupees was inimitable.