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For Anna, His Home Brew Coffee Was The ‘Real Coffee’

We were only allowed practice runs, Anna was the one who would always filter his own coffee. 

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For Anna, His Home Brew Coffee Was The ‘Real Coffee’

Anna, my father, knows how to cook. Not gourmet cook, not survival cook, but somewhere-in-the-middle cook.

Given his love for coffee, obviously, Anna filter a fabulous cup. South Indian coffee, of course! The coffee he calls ‘Real Coffee’ or ‘Best Coffee’.

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From as early as I can recall, I remember hearing Anna in the kitchen early in the morning, making coffee. Anna, would wake up sometime between 4:30 am and 5 am. After saying his prayers, sitting cross-legged in the middle of his bed, he would go to the kitchen to make coffee.

My mother, knowing what he would need, would have left a clean and dry drip-filter-coffee maker on the counter top. Anna would just have to load the top chamber with ground coffee, pat the powder down into a ‘gently packed’ cake, place it on the bottom chamber, and pour hot water into the top chamber.

While he waited for the coffee decoction to collect in the bottom chamber, he would pull out a small vessel of milk from the fridge and boil it. Simple, right? Well not so simple, if it is Anna.

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Anna makes fabulous coffee. (Photo: iStock)

Three out of seven mornings a week, we would wake up to Anna's hushed-shoutout to my mother from the kitchen, “Saralaaaa, where is the... ” Sometimes it was the coffee powder that he could not find, sometimes the saucepan to heat the water and sometimes the milk.

We would all let out a collective groan.

My mother would respond in a sleepy-voiced hushed-shoutout, “Yane-ree, it's on the shelf/in the fridge/... ”

We got so used to this, that we would wake up at an ungodly hour to hear Anna and Amma hushed-shouting various coffee paraphernalia, and then promptly fall back to sleep.

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We were not allowed to drink coffee as children and hence were taught how to make coffee only in our late teenage hood. We were instructed by Anna on the precise method to make the best coffee.

The coffee Anna calls ‘Real Coffee’ or ‘The Best Coffee’. (Photo Courtesy: Sangeeta Murthi Sahgal)

Decoction – the right quantity of coffee powder to use, how to pat the coffee in the top chamber, the temperature of the water, how to pour water into the top chamber such that the water was clear and not clouded with coffee, and so on.

We were only allowed practice runs of making filter coffee. Anna was the one who would always make the coffee at home. Two times a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Even when Anna was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and Dementia, he continued to make filter coffee everyday.

He stopped making filter coffee only after Amma died. I don’t know why. It wasn’t that he lost interest in drinking coffee. He still loves his coffee. Hot coffee. No matter what the ambient temperature is.

Could it be that one of us, his children, took over his early morning coffee making ritual without asking him if he wanted to give it up?

Could it be that our fear of him hurting himself or burning the house down, made us take it over earlier than necessary?

Could it be that he was not able to manage the physical precision that he needed to make coffee?

I don't know. And I probably will never know. Anna doesn't talk that much nowadays, for me to ask. That time has passed.

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(After working in corporate India for over 29 years, Sangeeta has taken time off to look after her father, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2008. Sangeeta hopes that these authentic stories will help patients and caregivers understand and appreciate the impact of Parkinson’s Disease. You can follow Sangeeta’s blog here.)

Related Stories in the Series:
My Anna Holds on to his Bata Sandals, Even as He Loses his Memory
Who Knew That Nutella Would Convince My Old Dad to Take his Pills?
For a Dad with Parkinson’s, I’d Get Him All the Junk Food He Wants
Pray, Why Does My 87-Year-Old Anna Need an Aadhaar Card?
When Anna Forgot the Words for Pain & Medicine & Suffered Quietly
A Dialogue: The Day I Saw My Dad For the Feminist That He Is
Why I’m Going to Research Organ & Body Donation For My Brave Anna
Despite Parkinson’s, Dad Lies at Attention for the National Anthem

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Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from voices and blogs

Topics:  Health   Parkinson   Food Memories 

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