I fulfilled a lifelong dream this weekend.
I had a cup of steaming Nescafe coffee. As far as dreams go, that may seem ridiculous. But bear with me. There’s a story. A story of hiding our wishes behind the facades of life. A story of ignoring a little voice that tells you it’s ok.
What do Nescafe and dreams and all these thoughts have in common?
Growing up, we got a television pretty late. I remember most of my childhood spent at a neighbor’s house, eagerly watching Ramayan and Mahabharat soap operas, and the odd cricket match, and my favorite: the Sunday afternoon “regional language” movie.
I didn’t consider myself unlucky or lucky – it was just the way life was. You had to watch TV, you went next door. And then finally, my family bought a TV home. It was sometime in the early 90s by then. I stopped going over to the neighbor and plonked myself in front of this amazing contraption.
That’s when I first noticed the Nescafe Sunrise ad. I was fascinated by it. It had a catchy tune, and my favorite scene was where a woman steps out on the balcony with a mug of steaming coffee in her hand, looking out to the awakening world. It was aspirational, inspirational, and just plain out of reach for me.
I grew up in a typical middle-class Indian family. We covered our TV remotes with plastic, and nothing was thrown out in the belief that it “may be needed someday.” I didn’t know riches, and neither I didn’t know too much want either.
When I went to college, my sister forced my Dad to give me Rs 200 as pocket money. My Dad couldn’t understand why I needed all that money. That was enough for the monthly membership at a local library and a few chaat indulgences. That was the sum of my entertainment and indulgence. Pubs and fancy restaurants were not what I had even considered.
And then I began work. I started earning. I earned more in a few years than many people in India earn in a lifetime. But my family’s habits stayed with me. It was my Mom who most imbibed in me this feeling of holding tight to money. I assessed everything I spent on need, not want. It helped me save. It helped me kick off a corporate job with the luxury that I had at least 5 years of my salary in my savings. But holding on also stopped me from letting go now and then.
Being on a leash all the time can curb your heart from doing a little dance now and then.
And what my heart really wanted was to be that woman on the balcony with that cup of Nescafe. I ignored it because Nescafe seemed just too pricey. I could afford it, but I couldn’t bring myself to it. No, no, Nescafe, I told myself.
The years rolled away, chaotic, unbidden, and fibrous in my memories. I traveled to more than 40 countries, but I stayed in hostels and guesthouses. I thought it was extravagant when I once paid $40 for a hotel room in Cambodia.
So, no Nescafe. I forgot about it, this little coffee jar of old dreams, flung on some dusty mattress of time. Until this weekend. Browsing on Amazon, I suddenly saw Nescafe as a ‘Sponsored Ad.’ I don’t know what made me click that Buy button on Amazon.
Click. Buy. Delivered. And there it was – my first jar of Nescafe.
I didn’t have a balcony, but I had a window. And it’s here that I took a deep breath, and I thought how dreams need not be that big house or that sports car or that fancy designation.
Sometimes, a dream can just be a cup of coffee, filled with the years of our lives.