Sunday, October 19, 2008

Did You Smell The Coffee?

Any Tam-Brahm Iyer function that's worth any decent amount of salt has to contend itself with only two of the three recommended square meals - breakfast and lunch. Anybody who tells you otherwise has been living in Punjab for too long and must be prescribed a Tam-Brahm Iyer function for the next three weekends at the very least.

This salty Tam-Brahm Iyer function, not in the least because of the long coastline of Tamil Nadu, wraps and modifies itself to only two things - rahu kalam (the bad time) and food - an indication of the place of importance food occupies in the grand scheme of things. Since rahu kalam cannot be changed, food acquires an all-deciding status. Hence, Iyers put in all sorts of energies into presenting a vast array of the most basic food stuffs prepared in the most delectable manner to ever grace a plantain leaf, so that when people talk about this function, and they will, they will talk about how pramadham (great) the food was.

Now, lunches are fairly simple affairs. It all depends on the rasam. A tremendous rasam can offset even the most mediocre lunch. For more on the philosophy of rasam, click here. Breakfasts, however, are much more trickier issues. It's the first meal of the day and the range of items that can be served are quite astonishing. Idly, vada, pongal, upma, semia upma, rava kesari, a multitude of chutneys and many others make selecting the right permutation and combination a challenge that would boggle even the self-designated Ramanujams at the function.

Thankfully, there is an answer. There is always an answer, and here it's name is coffee. Coffee is the glue that holds together any function. As long as there is great coffee doing the rounds consistently, everything else can and probably will be forgiven. I have always believed that a tanker should be stationed outside the hall and a pipe should connect from the tanker to a keg inside. A tap in the keg will allow for free-flowing unlimited (almost) coffee. Also, the thundering from the keg into the glass will give some great norai (froth), and all the connoisseurs (me included, but of course) know that's where the true taste lies. Such a setup also makes logistical sense for the host.

If you see any Tam-Brahm Iyer who's hyperactive and/or high-strung, you know it's the coffee. If you see any Tam-Brahm Iyer who's normal, imagine how sluggish he would have been if it hadn't been for the coffee. Coffee is possibly the single greatest contributor to the success of Tam-Brahm Iyers in the corporate, or any other, world. That brings me to the yawning gap, and hence opportunity, that exists today. To the best of my knowledge, there exists no machine that makes filter coffee. So, all the people who love filter coffee, the truest form of coffee if you ask me - and by reading this, you are asking me - are being forced to drink synthetic machine-made gloop that passes off as coffee. My limited knowledge of appliances and engineering indicates that it cannot be too difficult to create such a machine. I already have a machine that gives me decoction on the addition of coffee powder and hot water. Add a container with milk. Upon pressing a button, a certain pre-determined amount of decoction and milk is squirted out. Different buttons and pre-determinations can be set for different strengths of coffee. And voila! Productivity of companies employing Tam-Brahm Iyers skyrockets and South India is saved from the financial crisis.