Moments at Koshy’s

Koshy’s at St. Mark’s Road is one of the places which has resulted in me creating a deep bond with Bengaluru. Ever since I stepped first into this almost 70-year-old restaurant, I fell in love with the 90s ambience this place had to offer. The food is impeccably good, the conversations even more. Moments spent at Koshy’s are always memorable and cherished. Gazing around the sexagenarian population, who are regulars at this place gives you a lot to think about. I remember telling my friend M about how, maybe when we are grey and toothless, we will hang out in this place, talking about the good old days and a group of excited college students will come into the place and sit beside our table, some of them having their first sip of beer.

The plans for visiting Koshy’s today were made right after the semester holidays got over. All four of us were dying to have our share of Kaya Toast; one of the must-haves from this place. Foundation course examinations were finished by 10.30 and we decided that we needed some much-needed breakfast. I must say, we were probably the youngest people in Koshy’s today. I saw the familiar crowd of the old timers sipping coffees from their cups, slicing poached egg sandwiches and engaging in hearty, laughter filled conversations. A few office goers were scattered here and there, some engaged in phone calls while others gazing lazily at their Mac Book Pros. We decided our orders; all of us had sandwiches except M who ordered the Kaya Toast for all four of us. And then began the exchange of stories. Koshy’s always brings out the stories within each of us. Somehow, we come to know a bit more about each other every time we visit the place.

In midst of these conversations, after the sandwiches were eaten and the coffee being drunk, an old man came towards us to clear away the table. From what I could gather, he was close to 70; maybe above 70. He had a feeble appearance, a stooping back and as he took the glasses and the crockery away, I was filled with a sudden overwhelming feeling of sadness. It took me completely away from the place like I was picked up from that place and placed somewhere else entirely. He cleared the table away and as he left, he looked towards D and M with a weak smile, as they thanked him and smiled. I wasn’t able to look at him and I just gazed down at the table. The realization of such an old man clearing away tables at this age made me feel bitter about something but I couldn’t gather what it was. All sorts of random things flooded my mind. Why was he still working at this age? Why are his children not supporting him? Does he even have children, a family perhaps? I felt like apologizing to him, I wanted to tell him that he shouldn’t be doing this; he shouldn’t be spending his life like this. I felt extremely bad that he cleared our table but at the same time, I felt petrified. I just gazed elsewhere after he left. The others resumed their conversations while I sat pondering about things I was sure I couldn’t get an answer for. All I could do was to reassure myself. Maybe he had an old connection to this place due to which he hasn’t been able to leave it as of yet, considering there was other aged staff in the place. Maybe he was an old employee. Maybe he liked and was satisfied with what he was doing. Maybe his children did support him.

But somehow, that feeling of sadness refused to budge from its place.

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The many expressions of my father

My father is one of those people who has a nature which is nothing short of a puzzle. I haven’t been able to decipher that puzzle in all my 20 years of existence and I don’t think I ever will. Sometimes, it is difficult for me to understand what actually is going on inside his mind and the fact that he likes to keep certain things to himself makes the task even more difficult. Nevertheless, I have admired him for everything he is and for everything he has achieved in his life. His stature is a driving force which pushes me forward to stand up to him in all phases of life.

Simply put, my father is a person who has one central virtue governing his life, being practical. He has always been a no bullshit, no sloppy behavior kind of a person. He hates it when people behave like a wuss, he expects everyone to be active and energized. He goes for morning walks everyday at 5, need I say more? He searches for the essence of practicality in everything that he does; the clothes that he buys, the food that he eats, the money he spends upon himself (which he rarely does). He is short tempered, I guess that comes as a part and parcel in the persona that he has. He gets irked off at the smallest of things and approaching old age has increased this phenomenon. Nevertheless, he has a serious minded character and people who know him know well that bullshitting is not his thing. He probably isn’t the best person to have fun with and I feel that I have inherited some parts of all these traits from him. I can gauge the similarities which we have based on these small aspects that we share. His short tempered nature is something which I failed to inherit from him, something I am thankful about.

My father came from a very poor family. My grandfather worked as a junior engineer and earned a meager salary to support his family consisting of three children. My father had been quite meticulous in his studies and worked hard during his university years to get himself a job to support his family. He has told us stories of how he spent his college years having only two shirts and one terry cotton pant and how he had to borrow notes from his friends and teachers because books were something which could be afforded by only a few. All of this seems surreal now but that’s how his life was. His childhood consisted of fishing as his favorite pastime activity in the two huge ponds that we had in our ancestral home, indulging in farming activities, playing football with musk melons, eating mangoes and a wide variety of other fruits while lazing under the simmering sun. Not even close to how my childhood was.

But his hard work enabled him to have the pleasures of life. It has enabled us to have a decent life, a privileged life. When you think about it, you get a sense of how fortunate you are. And how grateful we should be for everything our parents do for us. Although my father has achieved a lot in his life, he has never hounded behind the pangs of luxury. Luxury is not a word that one would find in his dictionary. Living life contently with the basic, essential necessities is what he believes in. And he teaches us the same. We find it boring and shrug it off. After all, most of us crave for a luxurious life, filled to the brim with all the amenities this world has to provide. That’s the very purpose in everything we do, our education, the degrees that we obtain. Everything to have a life filled with fun, frolic and fancy Italian dinners every weekend. Isn’t that what we are? My father has never believed that.

The thing that my father isn’t a very orthodox or a conservative person makes me proud and happy. He isn’t one of those close minded people although he belongs to a generation which has many of those sorts. He has always supported us in all the decisions that we have taken in life, however bad they have turned out to be. He has always put our priorities first than everything else; he has always bought two or three pieces of clothing in an entire year; he has provided me and my sister the education which we have desired, never questioning any of it.

He might show signs of introversion sometimes, he might be a person who doesn’t have a lot of fun, he might be downright mundane as well but I think that all those traits turn pale in comparison to the things and virtues that I have learnt from him. I have adjusted to how he is as a person, I respect his persona and his behavior and I don’t flinch to point out at times when he is wrong. But still, he has given me a wonderful childhood, he has a big role in whatever I am now and I can never think of disappointing him. Maybe the puzzle in him will remain unsolved but I guess that is what makes each of us beautiful in our own way.