On my mind: Carla’s Café, a state of mind

Lifestyle Wednesday 01/November/2017 18:54 PM
By: Times News Service
On my mind: Carla’s Café, a state of mind

The indistinguishable aroma of freshly baked bread, waiters and waitresses with a waltz in their step and infectious joie de vivre, delectable delicacies whose every morsel contained a palpable jollity and the animated chatter of high-spirited customers is how I’ll always remember Carla’s Café. Carla’s Café was my kingdom of solace - where worries seized as I partook in the happiness and optimism that permeated the air. Many a birthday, anniversary and spontaneous family outing took place at the Café. It was more than a restaurant – it was my second home. The entrance of Carla’s Café separated the aspects of my existence that I wished to keep mutually exclusive, the two worlds in which I existed. As I walked through the glass door, I entered my Utopia – a realm where mere existence was celebrated and I indulged in what seemed like an eternal spring of gastronomical pleasure. Once inside, I was immune and oblivious to the struggles and tribulations that life condemns every man to. And while all these notions may seem excessively romantic to those who’ve never visited the Café, I swear to their veracity.
Where Carla’s Café stood, now stands a sprawling video-games parlour, perfectly representative of the mass consumerism that we are so wildly infatuated with. To me, Carla’s Café encapsulated all that was virtuous and fair, kind and genuine, beautiful, happy and hopeful in the world. In a matter of hours, it was reduced to a pile of broken glass, rubble, debris and dirt. When I first heard that it would be demolished, I turned a deaf ear to the news, my rather juvenile form of rebellion to the harshness of the reality. My incredulity was quashed by an explanatory news article that read in big, bold letters ‘Delhi’s Most Beloved Restaurant to be Torn Down Tomorrow’. The next day, I hopped onto my bicycle and rode to the restaurant, parking myself a hundred yards away from the demolition site. I watched as the obnoxious, villainous bulldozer pummelled the ornate walls, beautiful cabinets and stained windows to the ground, relegating them to memories, things of the past that can never be retrieved. The glass door shattered in front of my very eyes. I rode away from the site as fast as my wheels and desire to escape the unpleasantness could take me.
I thought that the loss of Carla’s Café would create a void in my life that I would never be able to fill. I was wrong. Though the ornate walls, jolly waiters and rich aroma of the Café no longer exist, the love and optimism, hope and happiness that it embodied are immortal and invulnerable to the might of a ravaging bulldozer. As my memory of Carla’s dwindles and my understanding of life grows, I’ve realised that Carla’s was not just a physical experience; it was a state of mind where Utopia and reality merge like watercolours and paint a beautiful picture on the blank canvas of life. I now know that the glass door is just an illusion and the key to happiness is shattering it — forging a Carla’s amidst the tumult, chaos and despair of everyday existence. Change is a destructive process. Yet from that destruction are often born realisations that with time, understanding and maturity give birth a new way of life. As I foray into the world, I strive to experience a ‘Carla’s ’ in everything I do, create a ‘Carla’s ’ everywhere I go and share my ‘Carla’s’ with the world.
[email protected]
The writer is Grade XII student of Indian School Ghubra