The drizzle, the mist, and the Mavoor road coffee house

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A twilight walk along a wet and drizzly Mavoor Road is one trip down nostalgia lane… mixing memories with desire. The rain, the vapour lamps and the lights filtering though the haze make the place every bit surreal.

It's not yet a hundred years since the place that was once marshy saw development and got transformed into the hard land that it today is. Mavoor Road is considerably younger than most of the other roads in Kozhikode. Amble along and you can see the Kairali theatre and the KSRTC bus stand. To know the changes brought about by development, a walk along the road is inevitable. The town's life used to be one long stretch from Kallayi to Palayam, Mananchira, and Nadakkavu. But with the laying of Mavoor road, life began spreading out to the sides, finding roots to hang on to.

The late evening jaunt takes you to the Indian Coffee House where you halt as if by sheer instinct. There's something inexorably lusty that draws you in. Call it the pull of a cup of hot filter coffee or the whiff of masala dosas or vegetable cutlets. You cannot possibly find anyone who has not had a bite or two of the Coffee House specials.

For some, life is measured by the hours in a day, to others like T S Eliot, life and the days are made of things other than hours. "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons," said Eliot. Was the poet counting out his days and hours by the number of times he must have halted at wayside inns or coffee houses? To yet others, life and coffee bear a spiritual bonding.

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The coffee house spread conjures up visions aplenty before the human eye. The masala dosa is an eye-candy, as delightful as love. The sauce looks as if it's straight from the heart of the beetroot, red, and robust and the waiters with their long top hats are images as large as life.

The history of Indian Coffee House is an oft repeated tale of how honest and hard working workers successfully found their way into the Indian Coffee House concern from the Mysore Coffee Board with its hoary history.

Though old and almost worn out, the Coffee House on Mavoor Road stands in regal splendour, bearing a rich legacy. It still holds forth despite the mushroom growth of hotels and eateries all around it. It still serves what it used to years ago, without experimenting with new flavours and upstart cuisines. The menu is the same… then and now. It’s only once in a blue moon that that the Coffee Board Cooperative Society administration meets to fix or change the rates of items served.

There are about five coffee houses in the city; but the maximum crowd is always at the coffee house adjacent to Aradhana Tourist Home and the one on Mavoor Road. More than a thousand people come to the joint on Mavoor Road alone for lunch.

There was once a lone coffee house on the beach in Kozhikode, the second one was opened at the Western Tourist Home on Mavoor Road. It was that coffee house that found its new pad in 1992 in the present building.

There's the aroma of coffee all around… of freshly ground beans. And there's a plate of hot, spicy and crisp cutlets ready to be dipped in crimson sauce.

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