I was a daydream-prone child. My mental excursions often tended towards the romantic and macabre: on the countless journeys to and from school, whether on foot or by bus, I would grant my stifled young mind free rein to find in the mundane suburban-scape, which my parents had cruelly forced upon me, visual passages to more preferable—and/or intriguing—, imagined realms. An oft passed tree, for example, would for an instant become a distant view into a Baroque Dutch landscape. Or, the brown and orange interior of my neighborhood library—the afternoon rains beating the building into a martial cry—would become a lonely, alien theater inhabited by self-conscious actors and blank-page-filled prop books. As artists and writers (neither of which I purport to be!) know, such fantasies are difficult to sustain, the script too written to rewrite, the visual cortex too hardwired to rewire. Yet, these hopeless dreamers continue to seek out precisely what is out of their grasp: those moments when the physical world actually exceeds the restless desires of the untransformed self. These moments lie beyond some neuropsychological ‘twilight zone’, beyond the journal’d storyboard you sketched as an angry adolescent, and most certainly beyond the oneiric tale you once narrated to a bored lover whilst you both languished in a dirty, unmade bed. They’re different because they’re really fucking real.
I’ve left the suburbs; I’ve journeyed to the once-great cities of crumbled empires and the still-great capitals of economic imperialism. I’ve even hitched a ride with a meth-crazy truck driver and fallen off a mountain and broken a bone. Still searching, I then one day stumble into a concrete phantasm, climb two flights, and discover ‘Indian Coffee House’. Indian fucking coffee house. Yes.
The frothy milk coffee shite pictured above was not sampled by this tableauxist. While I am hopeful I will be able to give Indian Coffee House the full attention it deserves—that is, by trying its milk-less, plain coffee brew—I must confess part of me is also hopeful that the next visit I make I will be greeted instead by a storehouse filled with bags of shredded papers. When I enquire about the fate of Indian Coffee House, a man sipping ‘Thums Up’ cola will meet my question with a quizzical expression and say, “Je n’ai pas d’idée que vous avez dite.”
Indian Coffee House2nd Floor, Mohan Singh Place
New Delhi, 110001
soymilk: not available