Coffee and the Paper is a series of blogs where I take a break from my travels and explore local media and local brews.
Some say that Paris is always a good idea. The Indian equivalent in my opinion? Delhi. Though I was only there for a total of about two days, I was blown away by its intensity, intellectualism, and surprising charm. It may be billed as a harsh, dangerous city by most Indians, but I found it to be more a place where you have to rise to its challenge and it will respect you in return. It probably helped that I went to visit a friend who works at the Caravan Magazine, a long-form narrative journal of politics and culture (sort of like The New Yorker for South Asia), so while my days were filled with political/historical sightseeing, my nights were filled with cheap wine and good conversation with local journalists. Could there be a better way to see a city?
That being said, I was a little more preoccupied with wandering than writing during this time, so the details of the TOI edition are a little sparse (apologies!). And this post is ridiculously late (like by two months). Regardless, I hope it gives you another little taste of news on this side of the world.
Newspaper: The Times of India
Edition: October 14, 2014
Price: 4.5 rs
Newsroom: Delhi (though with bureaus with separate editions across India)
Where I bought it: Grabbed it from the free news stand at a Cafe Coffee Day at Connaught Place
Top Stories: Another police officer was killed in Connaught Place, the cyclone in coastal Andhra Pradesh kills 22, there has been a 26 percent drop out of school children since 2009–even less girls are dropping out in boys according to the cited survey.
Major Story (that I found interesting):
- There has been an increase in research and innovation regarding electric auto rickshaws. Anyone who has been to India is quite familiar with the little three-wheeler motorized taxis that buzz around cities and rural areas (and with their often aggressive and unpredictable drivers). Though they have created many jobs for people, they have also caused a lot of pollution. Now there is a movement to introduce e-autos, which would reduce pollution. The only issue is that a lot of the parts are made in China and can be expensive and not necessarily compliant with Indian standards (and can be difficult to buy en masse given India’s business practices that favor Indian companies over international ones).
Coffee: Mysore blend from Cafe Coffee Day
If you have lived in India I know what you’re thinking. “You went to Delhi and you went to Cafe Coffee Day of all places?!” I know I know. CCD is like all the worst/best chain coffee shops in the US rolled into one. They have miserably sugary drinks, blast Katy Perry and Bollywood hits on repeat, and spring up in the most unlikely neighborhoods because they literally exist everywhere. That being said, as a preferably caffeinated individual attempting to live in the land of Nescafe and Irani chai, coffee is coffee. And that often happens to be at CCD. So when I took my first solo steps into Delhi after taking the metro to Connaught Place and immediately was accosted by vendors and locals yelling things in my direction (“Where are you going? What are you doing? Why go there? Don’t go there. You know what I like about Americans…”) I eventually spun on my heels at one particular man and forcefully said, “Is there Cafe Coffee Day nearby?” and thus started my understanding that Delhi simply bluffs its toughness. You turn to the right nagging person, look them straight in the eye, stone faced and directly ask them for something, they back down and give you what you need, no more no less. The man walked me the block to Cafe Coffee Day and walked away when I entered the doors. That’s right– a young, solo white woman that wasn’t bothered by a man that she engaged in conversation with. It is sadly (on both accounts) a rare occurrence. But I believe the power of coffee (and my mission to get some) helped make this positive interaction happen.
All this aside, I do really like CCD’s regional and international blends. Their Ethiopian coffee is excellent, and if you happen to be at the fancier CCD “Lounge” they even have black french press brews. This particular location had a blend I had been meaning to try, sourced from the south Indian city Mysore, a center for tea and sandalwood. It was a medium, but full bodied with hints of chocolate and fruit. The specialty blends cost a little bit more (about $2 USD for a big mug) but they are well worth it to try something local. Parts of India have a great climate for growing beans, but it is a tea-oriented country so you don’t get to try these very often unless you are in that region. Even if CCD is a little bit all over the place and in your face, it does bring those flavors nationwide. It was the perfect way to wake up and plan the rest of my day in Delhi, which I stared straight in the eye every step of the way.