It begins unceremoniously, like any other habit that you have allowed to creep into your life and find a safe harbour. It begins like any other day, one that doesn’t work too hard to embed itself in the recesses of your memory. You halt and ask for a cup of coffee. It tastes like nothing you’ve ever had before (or does it?). It provides you what most of your other trivial pursuits don’t - satisfaction.
The next day, you find yourself in the same place, ostensibly at the same time, ordering your cuppa again. This time, there is a gleam of recognition in the eyes of the one who serves you. Unknown to you, some 100 others feel the same. Again, it provides you what you try so seek untiringly day after day– recognition.
You can never tell when that day will come, when after much deliberation, you are deemed worthy of a regular. Your face is no longer another one in the crowd. Suddenly, satisfaction and recognition are not strangers anymore. It has crept upon you so unseeingly that you cannot free yourself of its grip. Actually, why should you?
You know you’ve invited trouble when a day that goes by without paying a visit can cause frayed nerves. You know it’s a habit when, for whatever reason, a visit slips through your fingers and restful sleep eludes you. You realise you’ve lost the battle when you make that effort to pay a visit, even if it calls for a complete detour from where you are headed. You know it’s a part of you when you touch ground from an out of town visit and the place you head to first isn’t home - but the place, which by now has become a second home.
Now, you have progressed far beyond regular and you are part of the furniture. In the workplace, this can result in embarrassing situations. Here, it is welcome. You don’t have to ask for a seat, it’s already waiting. You don’t have to place your order, it’s already assumed. You are met by greetings, the same for so many years. If you are nowhere to be found, the seekers land up, assuming they’ll find you there.
As time assuages your enthusiasm and lust for life, you start to seek familiarity (the kind that doesn’t breed contempt). And you always find it in this place. Travel the world and see what life has to offer, only to realise that there are very few places that you can truly call home. Where you can always come back, take off the masks that you wear and sit down for a cup of coffee.
Only to realise that the place is a part of you.