Synopsis: Café Coffee Day service staff attempted to shoo us away from their outlet in Connaught Place, because ‘meetings are not allowed here’. We didn’t leave, and here is the story.
A small group of aspiring novelists from New Delhi, who are attempting NaNoWriMo challenge this year, made a harmless little plan this Sunday: Visit Café Coffee Day outlet and discuss books, characters and conflicts while sipping coffee and crunching cookies.
We had plans of writing there, collective writing session. How excited I was!
I had just seated myself in the rather cozy ambiance of CCD situated in Block A of Connaught Place in New Delhi on the wonderful afternoon of Sunday. Although the meetup was meant to be low-key affair, only three had turned up, including me.
I was discussing about the possibilities of an Operating System falling in love with a human being, and the subsequent flow of emotions, when suddenly one of the CCD service staff interrupted us. He said something, which I didn’t hear because I was too engrossed in the insane idea.
Assuming that he is asking us for orders (the small outlet was filling up fast), I ask for a cup of hot coffee. I always forget the God damn names of coffee there.
“No sir, we want you guys to leave CCD”
I felt as if we were making plans to blow up the Parliament, and have been caught red handed in the middle.
Questions everywhere. We were shocked for a second, convinced that there has been some misunderstanding.
He calmly clarified, “Sir, meetings are not allowed here. We don’t allow people to organize meetups here.”
Opposite us, a group of white ladies were having a loud animated conversation and having coffee. One among us pointed, “See, they are also meeting, right.”
“No, they are friends. You are conducting a business meeting”, he accused us, pointing towards our opened laptops and notebooks and books.
“We are also friends!” We all said together.
Yes, Facebook friends, who were just strangers who had never met before. We were writer friends, bonded by a community called NaNoWriMo. We were intellectual friends, we spent hours together on Facebook talking about books and words.
Damn, we three had collectively written more than 100,000 published words. Didn’t he realize that?
“We don’t allow work over here. There is a notice outside?”
We closed the laptops and stared towards him. By including the word ‘notice’ he had no doubt introduced a tangible entity into the whole drama. As if a kind of authority has just been wielded upon that guy, who, now has absolute power to do anything he deemed correct.
But the problem was, none of us had read any damn notice outside.
He continued ranting about laptops and work and business meetings and stuff. I was now almost angry, but more than that, I was hurt.
The story, the ideas, the conflicts, the characters.. something which I was so excited about 3 minutes before, were now killed. Exciting art, which could have been created, was ruthlessly murdered, live.
“Can you give us in written?”
“Excuse me sir?”
I repeated, elaborating this time, “Can you write to us, stating that CCD is shoving three writers out of their outlet, as they consider that we are indulging in illegal activity?
We are writers you see, we need content for our blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts. And I am sure that this incident will be repeated to your big bosses sitting in large offices.”
This softened him a bit. After we reassured that there won’t be any more ‘participants’ in this ‘business meeting’, he left us on our own.
Yes, he didn’t (or say, couldn’t) get us out of their premises, although he did try hard. But the whole incident did left a sour taste in our mouths, something which their ‘rich’ ‘aromatic’ coffee with cream and chocolate couldn’t rectify.
We felt humiliated, embarrassed and most importantly, the feel and the excitement of writing collectively was killed. After he left, we did made most of the time by talking about writing and books, but we never wrote a single word.
This stupid evacuation drama killed the art.
In case you visit that CCD outlet in future, please be warned. There is a notice sticking outside, which can make your day bad to worse. Beware.
About Me: I am a Writer, who is attempting to write a novel in 30 days this November under the NaNoWriMo challenge. You can track my progress here. Feel free to connect with me on Facebook or Tweet me your love here. I can be instantly reached at firstname.lastname@example.org