May 26, 2017

Life lessons from an evening

It was a beautiful Sunday evening. Rain clouds were gathering and a cool breeze was gently caressing my hair as we were driving to a park in Jayanagar. My daughter D loves parks and play areas. Bangalore is blessed with a lot of them and most importantly, they are well maintained by BBMP. The park was crowded and D played happily to her heart’s content, climbing up and down the slides and swings. There was dancing and singing too. After spending more than an hour, it was time to leave as it started to drizzle. She spotted a Cafe Coffee Day nearby and screamed, “I want Oreo milkshake”.

We stepped into CCD and placed her order. I wanted coffee and as I was perusing their menu, I spotted filter coffee.
Hmm, filter coffee in CCD menu. Let me try it out”, a thought popped up.
Why take a chance? Don’t you remember the bad brownie incident that you faced some time back? Order your usual cappuccino”, another thought responded. (I hate cold coffee. Even if it is a peak summer afternoon, I would prefer a cup of hot coffee)

Amidst this mind chatter, D’s Oreo milkshake was served. Both my husband and D were sharing while I decided to go for a cup of filter coffee. Order placed, coffee arrived after 15 minutes. It was too hot to take even a sip. I waited for a couple of minutes and then took a sip. It tasted weird and felt that the decoction was old. I emptied another sachet of sugar, hoping the taste would be altered. But that wasn’t the case. Meanwhile, D started to get restless and wanted to leave. I was in no mood to argue with the waiter and wait for another cup of coffee. It was clear that there wasn’t any fresh decoction and so no point in asking for a replacement.

I cursed myself, “95 bucks for filter coffee that tastes so bad. Why do you need to order in the first place?”.
We decided to leave and I told myself, "It’s not worth stepping into this expensive CCD ever again. Quality has deteriorated so much”.

With a frown face, I stepped into the car. D started shouting, “I’m still hungry. I want to eat something else”. It was 7:30 by then. So we decided to eat dinner outside. Husband had an idea, “Hey, we should go to Taaza Thindi. We are in Jayanagar and it should be somewhere nearby.”. He quickly checked Google Maps and we realized it was just a street across. Though I have heard of this place many times, I have never visited in all these years of living in Bangalore.

It was crowded and a long queue had already formed. Thanks to efficient billing, the husband brought three plates of hot, fresh dosas in 10 minutes. Meanwhile, D and I found a place to sit on the bench outside. The dosas tasted so heavenly. Sitting outside in a small space along with so many people, cool breeze, light drizzle and fresh, hot food - it felt so good! Such an experience is unique for D.

That evening taught me some valuable lessons.

It is very important for parents to expose our children to varied experiences.

Why do we always take them to a sit-down fine dining AC restaurant? I decided that I should take my daughter to chaat places, stand-in quick eateries, chai shops etc (provided the basic hygiene requirements are met)

Why do we always book 3rd / 2nd AC train tickets after we become parents? We want our child to travel comfortably but that shouldn’t deter us from booking a sleeper class. In fact, most of my best childhood memories are from those S2/S3 coaches in long-distance trains - fighting with my brother for a window seat, waking up to cool morning breeze from the windows and listening to “chai coffee chai” chants by the vendors.

Why do we ALWAYS associate quality with price? “High price, high quality” belief is one of the cognitive biases of our human mind. At Taaza Thindi that evening, all three of us ate a satisfying meal for less than Rs.100. Earlier that day, for a single cup of bad-tasting filter coffee at CCD, we paid 95 bucks. “Experience”, “decor”, “ambience” - one might say as the reasons for such exorbitant pricing. But deep down, if I ask myself what do I value, that cool air, fresh food and cozy dining with my family are the most precious moments that Taaza Thindi evening gave me. Since we were cuddled up in a tiny space, we couldn’t take our phones out. If we had gone to a nice, fine-dining restaurant, I’m sure my husband would have been checking his work emails. My daughter would have lost the patience to wait for food and would be checking my phone for her videos.

Most of the times, a bad experience/incident will help us realize what we value and end up teaching us some important life lessons. All we need is a little time to introspect and perhaps, jot it down in a journal or a blog.

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