In a city where the rich now have countless upscale oases for escaping the masses, the Indian Coffee House is one of the few places in New Delhi where anyone can feel comfortable. On any given afternoon you'll find time-passing retirees, long-haired intellectuals and penny-pinching students filling the establishment's no-frills terrace to drink excellent South Indian coffee and spend hours in conversation or reading the newspaper. The Formica tables are worn with use, and the management is proudly leftist. At one time, the Indian Coffee House was a magnet for local gossip and political dealmaking, but in New Delhi the power brokers have long since moved to plush five-star hotels. Perhaps that's why the news that the coffee house may lose its lease has been met with nostalgia and a collective shrug. Go soon it won't last long.
By Jyoti Thottam