Stories about coffee

Why are places like Espresso and Dolmen Mall so averse to live music?

I’m standing at Alexanderplatz in Berlin, hearing music from three different directions coming from street artists who have set up their hats. One plays under a bridge, another next to a shopping district and a third outside a beer hall. I’m not sure which one to listen to when I get an urgent e-mail from Marium Kamal. Marium is an artist and a fine arts teacher who, in her free time, manages Shikari; a small indie duo who play only original Urdu and English songs in Karachi. I met her and the band quite cosmically at a coffee shop on my ...

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I partied at 1am… with these delicious chocolate chip and peanut butter cupcakes!

I love birthdays, whether it’s mine (preferred) or anyone else’s. I get very excited – the countdown to the day type of excited. I’m basically five-years-old again with my level of excitement, but I figure it is one day of the year that is entirely yours, so enjoy it. Get as much as you can out of it and have fun with family and friends. So in the spirits of birthdays, a friend recently celebrated his 30th – big deal and all of that. It was a great reason to bake something delicious (though one doesn’t really need reasons to bake other ...

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She tasted his voice in her coffee – Artificial sweeteners

It was a Tweety colouring book, as thin as her finger nail. Tweety’s yellow was being swallowed by the bright red background. On the corners, a shy baby blue hovered as if it was scared to be noticed. Tweety’s hands were on his hips. His face was contorted into a cheeky wink. The boy waved it at her from his place at the footpath. She sipped on her coffee and stared straight ahead. He took a few steps closer and waved the book again. Tweety’s giant yellow head blurred. The red and yellow spilled into one another. The baby blue slipped from ...

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Their maddening, disappointed passion and the silent love

“It is neither a story of hatred, nor of love; it is not even a fatalistic story. It is a story of sheer indifference towards oneself and those loved, one that eats away a human soul slowly, bit by bit but persistently. It is a story of spiritual paralysis caused by maddening disappointed passion.” Nadia was standing by the window of her office, which offered a spectacular view of the main boulevard, with an air of untroubled poise which was reflected in her quiet dark brown eyes outlined with a dash of kohl. Her frozen, soft face complimented the stillness of her ...

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Planning to visit Istanbul? Here are 13 food items to entice your taste buds

On my visit to Istanbul, one of the main attractions of the city for me was the exquisite food. Their cuisines looked simple yet tasted amazing. It was mostly mild yet full of flavours. One could eat here for days and not miss the oily biryani and karhai back home. Therefore, here is a list of 13 food items which you must try if you ever visit Istanbul: 1. Doner Kebab Photo: Urooj Hussain This one is a no-brainer; there is not a thing which says Istanbul like freshly grilled Doner Kebabs. It’s by far the first thing that anyone tries as soon as they ...

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Aao Parhao – A lesson less ordinary

My experience of teaching high school students has been rewarding, frustrating and overwhelming – all in one fell swoop. I’ve come to believe it is through teaching that one truly learns. Every year the teacher is a year older, perhaps wiser. The students, however, don’t age. Yet, either through the work of evolution or technology, the classroom seems to fill itself with a batch that is smarter at outsmarting the teacher. The profession, by its very nature, forces you to keep up with the times. And with time, the ways of teaching are changing too. The classroom has become ...

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Let’s have a cup of chai together, India

It is a truth acknowledged in the subcontinent that no meeting is complete without a cup of chai (tea). The freshly brewed combination of masalas, cardamom or a frothy cup of doodh pati touches the tip of the tongue, instantly refreshing one’s mind. Some have even argued that chai purifies their souls. We all certainly love our tea!  The addiction is tremendously mind-blowing, in its literal sense, and on a serious note, I often think Pakistani and Indians need a tea rehabilitation centre. When have you last visited a household where you weren’t offered chai? The alternative options are, of course, thanda (cold drink) or pani (water), but the fervour of making fresh chai for the guests is ...

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Nutella cheesecake and Farhan Akhtar – doesn’t get better than that!

As Mr A was casually buying himself some coffee and a large packet of spicy Lays chips outside the cinema, when a wide-eyed friend exclaimed looking at him, “Oh my God, your husband is here to watch ‘Shaadi ke side effects’, poor thing!” The cinema barely had any male species present. It was, however, outrageously packed with caramel-popcorn-munching females. Clearly the movie was going to be fun. “Hmmm… now he will know the true side effects, flashed before him, and what we women have to go through after marriage.” I cloyingly thought to myself as we settled down in the wide red seats. Throughout the movie, ...

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Highway: So much more than a love story

I have the tendency to overanalyse an Imtiaz Ali film. I kept looking for Heer Ranjha in Rockstar and derived multiple interpretations from the coffee mugs of Love Aaj Kal. And then came Highway – an invitation card to find layer upon layer of symbols. Although a film that sounds like just another love story based on Stockholm Syndrome from a distance, Highway has a lot more to offer when you come closer; a lot more substance, a lot more feel. And definitely something a lot more important than a mere love story. The question is, is it even a love story in the first ...

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At Espresso: Religion on a caffeine high

So the other day I went to pray at a local mosque, when I realised that it was time for my coffee, which I religiously consume at regular intervals throughout the day. Naturally, I asked the local Imam how I could find a deliciously hot cup of Joe in the premises, when he politely told me that I was out of luck since I was in a house of prayer, and not a coffee shop. My love for the beverage clouded my judgement, and I initially thought he was jesting. When I tried to make things easier on him by ...

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