I came to Coimbatore yesterday. This has been one of my favourite cities and I enjoy visiting it. Sadly, what with this pandemic I could not do so for over ten months. But then, thankfully, here I was.
Over the years it has been a tradition of sorts that Venkatesan, my colleague in Coimbatore joins me for breakfast at Annapoorna, People’s Park near Govt Arts College before we set out for the day’s round of reviews, interviews and customer visits. And each time we have breakfast there we have more or less selected the same table, near the service entrance. It has become a habit. And we have been served by the same lady.
A short, stout, motherly woman in her sixties maybe, it was always a pleasure to meet her. She had an imperceptible way of making sure you were comfortable, your dishes arrived on time and the coffee was just right. All of this was done without intruding in any way on the conversation that Venkatesan and I were having. But we always had a brief chat with her too.
Arriving at People’s Park this time and waiting for Venkatesan to come, I was allocated a different table which was disconcerting enough. And there was no sign of the lady. I kept looking out for her. These are pessimistic times and I assumed the worst. The best I could conjecture was that she had retired or had been settled by the company owing to her age. Lots of the ‘elderly’ (and I am just six years shy of 60) have been put out to pasture this way.
Venkatesan and I had breakfast and the coffee came – it was just not the same. I was just going to accept it all as a sign of the times when like a radiating power she appeared. It was all I could do to prevent myself from going up to her and giving her a hug. With a view to reducing exposure the management had moved her to billing (kudos to them) she said, and all was well.
Then her eye fell on the coffee – “does it not need more decoction?”she asked. How did she know? But she did. This was asked for and when it was added, the coffee was just right.
All was well. God was in his heaven, or rather that manifestation of him that works as a motherly waitress at Annapoorna People’s Park was going strong. There is little more to ask for. All is right with the world.