Filter Coffee - Season 3 Bonus

- Charulatha, C


It was 5:30 am. The smell of filter coffee wafted around the kitchen. Ramya sat at the dining table, sipping her coffee from a steel tumbler, cherishing every moment of the short-lived peace and solitude.

Within some time, she would be screaming – ‘Wake up, Manav, Mansi.’ Hurrying in and out of rooms, getting the kids ready for school, different kinds of lunchboxes getting packed, running around to find belts and ties. Phew! Only Ramya could understand the importance of these thirty minutes she had. The absolute quiet and her coffee.


Growing up, Ramya was never an early riser. Her quest for solitude made her get up at the crack of dawn, after her kids were born.

5:15 am was just enough time to wake up, enjoy her coffee and then go about with the flurry of the rest of the day.


Ramya grabbed the car keys, congratulating herself on getting the kids ready. While the kids wore their shoes, she checked herself in the mirror, smoothening her hair and tucking in stray strands. She saw her husband, Ajay, through the mirror, coming out of the bathroom, newspaper in hand. He called out to her, ‘Don’t forget to set the guest room up. Vinod Mama said he would reach by 7 pm.’


Last week, her husband told her about Vinod Mama moving in with them. 80-year-old Vinod Mama was not-so-closely related but close because Ajay had spent his college years staying with Vinod Mama and his family.

Vinod Mama had borne the brunt of Covid, losing his closest family members to it. Ramya’s husband did not want him to stay alone and persuaded him to move in with them.




‘Ma’am, Drithi is hitting me. No Maaam. Manan hit me first.’ ‘Maaaaaaaaammmmm! This boy is copying me.’ ‘Aaaaaaaaah’


Ramya sighed. She needed her morning alone-time to deal with the madness of being a primary school teacher. She couldn’t stop thinking about the early-riser Vinod Mama moving in. Instead, she could hear her morning tranquility shatter to pieces.

She didn’t have anything against Vinod Mama and knew he was a good man, but it was her only peaceful time of the day!


They welcomed Vinod Mama home that night, and Ramya prepared herself to get up by 4:45am the next day to get her quota of solitude.

The alarm sang, and Ramya jumped out of bed.

This isn’t too hard, she thought as she sat down with her coffee. Just then, Vinod Mama marched out of his room and spread a mat in the living room. She could soon hear loud sounds.

‘Hummmmhh’ ‘Hummhhh’ ‘Hummmmmmh’

He was doing a very vigorous Kapalbhatti Pranayam.


Oh No! He gets up this early? Ramya would have to start getting up at 4:30 am to get her alone time.

The next day, the alarm sang her favorite song, ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ at 4:30 am.

It stopped being her favorite song just then. She felt like flinging the phone away. Her eyes refused to open, and her body begged her to sleep more. The only thing that managed to get Ramya up was the image of freshly brewed, filter coffee floating before her eyes.


That day, Ramya went through her classes feeling like a zombie. It was when a paper ball hit her head that she realized she had fallen asleep in one of her substitution classes.

Ramya wanted to cry. ‘No, I don’t want to get up so early!’

Ramya had a brain wave just then. At dinner, Ramya sat next to Vinod Mama. She said,’ Vinod Mama, there is an exciting documentary series on NugTV about how yoga transforms people’s bodies and minds. You have to watch it!’

‘I already know everything. What is new?’

‘You will be surprised. I heard there are lots of new findings. But it comes very late at night. It might be too late for you. But then, Vinod Mama, what is retired life if you can’t sleep late and get up late?’

Vinod Mama nodded. ‘I enjoy these documentary programs. What time does it come?’ Ramya said, ’11 pm – 12′ (She omitted to mention the actual telecast was at 4 pm.) That night, Ramya went to sleep dreaming about herself and her coffee, having a cozy, and quiet date in the morning.

The following day, she made herself coffee, humming her favorite song. As she stepped out of the kitchen, the sight outside stopped her dead in her tracks.

‘Hummmmhhh Hummmmmmhh Hummmmmmmh’


‘Huh? How did he get up so early after sleeping so late?’ Ramya thought.

‘Good morning, Mama. Did you sleep well? You didn’t watch the documentary?’

‘Yes, yes. It was good. Why does it come so late, though? At my age, the body is like a clock. It has to wake up at 5 am.’


Ramya nodded and smiled. But inside, her mind was whirring. She had to think of something else now.

She stepped out into the balcony with her coffee. As she spotted some early morning walkers, another idea came to mind.

She rushed back inside. ‘Vinod Mama, I was reading walking for 30 minutes, and then watching the sunrise adds five years to your age. Why don’t you try it?’

Vinod Mama nodded. ‘Yes, I should. But after my pranayama.’ ‘First walk..then pranayama,’ said Ramya firmly.


The next morning, Ramya cautiously stepped out of her room. She looked around and saw no signs of Vinod Mama. ‘Finally, the house to myself!’


As she sat with her coffee and congratulated herself on the genius idea, she heard someone on the balcony. She strode till there to see Vinod Mama, marching up and down their five feet long balcony, wearing his sneakers. It was an amusing sight.

‘Good Morning, Ramya,’ he called out cheerfully.


She chuckled. Ramya resolved to let the poor man be. She would find her solitude some other time. She dug out her headphones, put them on, and continued drinking her coffee.

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