I am presently at the age where the loco parentis is gradually reversing. That the pace of reversal can be accelerated has been continually impressed upon me. Based on varying emotional situations I have been likened to Shravana and to Emperor Nero - who played the lute and left for the office when the household was stalled because of a plumbing failure. When the latter situations seem to pile up in memory, in a bid to achieve domestic emotional balance - and at the same time quench our thirst for drinking in all of the world's variety- my parents and I go on vacations.
I am usually given a carte blanche in the planning except for one killer clause: any place as long as good filter coffee is available. That leads me to an inevitable digression.
When people like something which I don't, I find it difficult to just walk away. I have to say something. Sometimes I am blunt ("I don't watch hockey...you start watching sports other than cricket then one thing leads to another and you end up watching golf") and sometimes just politely spooky ("Are you sure she is the one ?"). But with coffee I am yet to settle on a line of offense. A variety of Indonesian delicacy coffee is apparently made from a bean that is first digested by a rodent. So one can't argue with people who like the taste no matter what.
"Stop it woman. Not a drop of that infernal liquid" said Captain Haddock to the Syldavian airhostess who attempted to pour water into his drink. That would fairly match my description towards coffee. Where I come from, that is a rarity. And in my family - a genetic impossibility. My parents need two coffees before breakfast - which in my father's case is another coffee - before they can brace themselves for the day. I force-sniff asoefotida and the like when I make coffee for them. While on that: the ruse staring at the world's face that I am annoyingly alone in recognizing, is the perfume seller's trick. When you sniff coffee beans, everything else just HAS to smell better. It is that simple. Although once, my mother, after a lot of sniffing finally decided to buy the box of beans.
Coming back... I dangled Coorg and a coffee-plantation-unwind-vacation before them in a tantalizing manner. But what would have been a gas-mask holiday for me was averted by a parental aversion towards temperatures south of mid-morning mistless Madras mArgazhi. Mysore - and the alliteration ends here - and temple thereabouts like- Halebid, Belur, Sravanabelagola, Melkote - were decided as the targets.
My interests in temple trails coexisting with a history of chronic (and at times annoyingly vocal) agnosticism has perplexed many. That their perplexion perplexes me is a topic for another day. As the world likes to pigeonhole, many have supposed I am architecturally inclined. I have not resisted the tag because then I would have to explain myself or worse still- introspect.
(To be continued)