Sunday, March 1, 2009

Of broken white cups and vintage art

It only seems proper to begin my new blog on design with what inspires me most...coffee. There has been much noise off late about the Indian Coffee house on MG road shutting down. Suddenly it seems to have become everybody's 'all time favourite joint since forever'. Sadly it was never so, all these years, infact the last I visited two years ago, it was practically empty. I remember even writing about it....

"My heart wandered to the most unassuming places in the city, old gems- threatended to be torn down anyday. There is a joy in discovering such spots, the people...their lives, the walls, the chairs, the cups chipped at the edges.. which have seen so much over the years. Waiting for my coffee, I look around, the mirky walls sport vintage posters of old coffee advertisements.

Sipping the brew, watching people pace up and down and twice over again on the pavement, smiles and giggles and shopping bags and children with balloons and newspaper cones of roadside bhelpuri, and you order another cup of coffee, cos one is never enough. The menu isnt lavish; masala dosa, buttered toasts, omelettes, or pakodas and cutlets...but just so prefect, just as mom would make it.

Upstairs, its quieter. It's almost empty. A couple in one corner. An old gentleman reading the newspaper at another end sticks his head out to catch a glimpse of the intruders. We sit by the window on the old sofa torn at the edges, the foam popping out... it's oddly relaxing. We absorb the silence, for a few moments. It's calming. Probably a tad too perfect... makes me a little sqeamish. It was time to leave, get back to our world, the familiarity, the comforts of noise, the crowd, the pressure and deadlines, out of this tiny capsule which had taken us back in time."

I love the ads of the early sixties and seventies... the illustrations, the colors, the typo....ads for little things like radiosets, lightbulbs, dishwashers, peanut butter and ofcourse the classic Campbell's soup. You have such vintage prints plastered all over restaurants like TGIF, but somehow, here in Coffee House- they 'belonged'. Here's a look at a couple of them..

"a fine type, a fine coffee, both are INDIAN"


"The reason for my charming smile..INDIAN COFFEE"